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Business Owner Explains How FDA Rules Harm Smokers

Ron Marshall knows all too well how hard it is for people to quit smoking using traditional methods. He sees it every day in his business. Marshall owns Freedom Vapes in Montana, a shop that sells e-cigarettes and vaping products to smokers who want to kick the tobacco habit. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, but the liquid that is used in them can contain nicotine. This can help smokers gradually reduce their nicotine intake while providing the physical hand-to-mouth action of smoking – something that nicotine gums and patches can’t do.

Marshall sees people every day who have successfully quit smoking tobacco cigarettes thanks to e-cigarettes, which is why he is concerned about the U.S. government’s attitude towards the products he sells. The Food and Drug Administration has decided that e-cigarettes are tobacco products, despite the fact that neither they nor the liquid used in them contain a trace of tobacco. Some e-liquid doesn’t even contain nicotine, but this hasn’t stopped the FDA from its continuing efforts to treat e-cigarettes as if they are exactly like tobacco cigarettes. If the FDA continues to push its agenda, Marshall says, most if not all e-cigarettes and vaping products could be removed from the market, wiping out an entire industry and leaving smokers with fewer alternatives to improve their health and possibly save their lives.

The FDA is planning new rules that would require that most e-cigarettes be taken off the market for review. The rules would apply to any e-cigarette or vaping products that were manufactured after 2007, which would include most products that are on the market now. Marshall has implored his Montana senators to support the Cole-Bishop Amendment, which would change the FDA’s time frame for and allow current vaping products to be kept on the market. The amendment was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives but still needs to be approved by the Senate.

The United Kingdom recently proclaimed that e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than tobacco cigarettes, but the U.S. government continues to ignore the science that keeps showing little, if any, harm from e-cigarettes. There are various theories as to the reasons for this. Some say the government may be protecting big pharmaceutical companies who see e-cigarettes as a threat to sales of nicotine gums and patches. Others suspect anti-smoking hysteria naturally crosses over to e-cigarettes because they simply look like regular cigarettes. Another theory, and possibly the most frightening, is that government wants to maintain a certain percentage of cigarette smokers in the country to keep filling its coffers with cigarette tax money.

Ron Marshall notes that as an e-cigarette retailer, he welcomes common sense regulations, but the current proposal by the FDA not only runs counter to their mission to protect the public health by eliminating a safer alternative to smoking, but would also harm small businesses. Small privately owned businesses account for a significant portion of e-cigarette retailers. The vast majority of these businesses will not sell their products to anyone under the age of 18, though there is no current law actually preventing them from doing so. Those in the e-cigarette industry have consistently shown their integrity in making e-cigarettes a product available only to adults as an alternative to smoking. The FDA needs to see the reality of e-cigarettes and the industry and stop treating it like it’s the same thing as smoking, because it is not.

Electronic Cigarettes • April 5, 2017


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