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H.R.2194 Could Save Vaping from Deeming Regulations

Another bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives with the aim of saving e-cigarettes from the potentially disastrous FDA deeming rules that are set to take effect fully by August of 2018. Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, introduced The Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act of 2017 (H.R.2194), with the goal of removing e-cigarettes from the definition of tobacco products and putting them in their own category.

The bill, H.R. 2194, would remove the testing requirements for vaping products but require certain standards in the manufacture and labeling of e-liquids and vaping hardware. Hunter, himself a vaper who credits vaping with enabling him to quit smoking, says that the standards will ensure that vaping products safe but save the vaping industry from possible ruin by eliminating the expensive testing requirements that the FDA has imposed. Under the current FDA rules, manufacturers of vaping products, including e-liquid, would have to spend literally millions of dollars getting each and every one of their products tested, or else they would not be able to legally sell them.

Another bill, the bipartisan H.R. 1136, would change the FDA rules to grandfather in vaping products manufactured prior to 2016. Without a change, the current grandfather clause only covers products manufactured before 2007 – which at this point means virtually no products on the market would be allowed to stay on the market without testing.

E-cigarette manufacturers and retailers have no problem with testing per se, or with regulations that require common sense safety measures like clean facilities, child-proof packaging and ingredients listing on bottles. The problem is the cost of the testing the FDA requires, which only large corporations could afford. The majority of vaping companies are small, and might have to close up shop after August next year if the current FDA deeming rules are not changed. On the other hand, the very few large companies in the vaping market could survive and wind up dominating the vaping industry. Ironically, these are tobacco companies.

If H.R. 1136, called The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act, passes, all new vaping products would still need to be tested at the same exorbitant cost. Representative Hunter’s bill would go further and create a special category for e-cigarettes so that tobacco cigarette rules would not apply to them.

But the president of the American Vaping Association, Gregory Conley, says that while he appreciates Hunter’s legislation, he thinks that the former bill may be more effective, at least in the short term. Conley doesn’t think it is likely that Hunter’s bill would be able to pass at this time, but could be a “conversation starter” about possible future changes.

If passed, Hunter’s bill would presumably save all e-cigarette and vaping products by imposing regulations that most vaping industry professionals say they could afford. But even if it should fail but the deeming clarification bill were to pass, that would, as Conley says, save 99 percent of vaping products currently on the market.

Electronic Cigarettes • June 15, 2017

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