Some of his Democrat electorate may be complaining that Duncan Hunter isn’t there to listen to their problems, but vapers across the entire nation must be celebrating the news that he is attempting to throw out the FDA’s deeming regulations in their entirety, placing tobacco harm reduction (THR) at the forefront of government policy.
Trump’s team discovered that when they attempted to consign Obamacare to the annals of history the lack of replacement legislation stopped the move in its tracks. They’ve learnt from what happened and vapers look set to benefit from the experience. Hunter will be presenting his comprehensive bill to the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
The timing of the Hunter bill announcement couldn’t have been better as across the way, in the Senate, the Cole-Bishop Amendment was killed off. It sought to ameliorate the FDA’s deeming regulations and caused consternation in the ranks of the anti-THR lobby, a lobby that was particularly loathsome in its gloating after the fact.
Joe Kasper, Hunter's chief of staff said: “Cole-Bishop is like gaining the inch, and Hunter's legislation the yard. While we're always going to have some concerns about kids accessing either cigarettes or vaping pens, that should not motivate the federal government to go in the complete opposite direction and say nobody can have them.”
The bill, should it be adopted, would signify a paradigm shift in the way the United States approaches products like electronic cigarettes. Firstly, it acknowledges that they are not tobacco products – no eliquid contains tobacco. It places harm reduction at the core of future thinking and demands that vaping (and snus) is measured against smoking in terms of how much safer it is.
The FDA deeming regulations are set to place crippling financial costs on independent vape companies. By derailing this rule, companies would find themselves in a commercial environment more conducive to expansion rather than a threat to their existence.
Hunter’s bill doesn’t do away with oversight, it isn’t advocating a return to the free-for-all days the vape market experienced during its infancy. The bill will place down a requirement for standards for eliquid and device manufacturing. In addition, it will require manufacturers address the topic of battery safety by using short circuit protection and discharge monitoring.
It appears that Trump plans on placing Doctor Scott Gottlieb in charge of the FDA. Gottlieb is a clinical assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine, but (despite associations with Big Pharma) previously held an interest in a vape shop and has spoken positively about vaping. The appointment would add to the notion that there has been a fundamental shift in focus as far as THR regulation goes.
Will this be the week that sees vaping overcome a major obstacle or will the anti-THR lobby scupper the plans to save a billion lives?