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Johnson Creek Vapor Getting Assistance From Unlikely Place

In a fight that gets uglier by the week, one electronic cigarette shop in Wisconsin is getting help from an unlikely source: the village board of Hartland.

Johnson Creek Vapor, which is located in and employs about 50 people in Hartland, has recently asked for assistance from the village board. The plea has come from the fact that the FDA has mandated PMTAs for every individual e-liquid offered by companies.

Heidi Braun, the president and chief operating officer of Johnson Creek, says that the estimated price for each individual application is $1 million. Johnson Creek currently offers over 200 e-liquids at various nicotine levels, meaning that the company could be forced to pay the federal government a minimum of $200 million in application fees over the next several years.

The application fees do not cover legal costs that would be incurred on the part of the company for the appeals process or for filing, which could easily add another $500,000 per year.

Lake Country Now was there at the village board meeting and reports that Braun was vocal in wanting support from the city. She said that the company spends roughly $350,000 a year on rent and employs people who live and work in the area, which makes the business a vital part of the company.

Braun also warned against the FDA’s overreach when it came to its regulations. Alongside the PMTA requirements, the agency also requires a minimum age for selling electronic cigarettes, child safety precautions, and health warnings.

These are all regulations that Johnson Creek Vapor has championed since it first opened, Braun stated. She also went on to say that: “We’re absolutely for regulation, but we’re for stable and right regulation…not something that could put us out of business or cost us millions of dollars.”

While it may seem a little strange to believe that the village of Hartland could help, it is possible. According to Linda Hansen, who heads the Electronic Vaping Coalition of America, federal law does state that local governments can fight against and interfere with federal agencies if the laws or regulations enacted by that federal body affects a business within its boundaries negatively.

Hansen, who was also present at the village meeting, told the board that there was a precedent for the law being used and can effectively interfere with the FDA regulations in order to save Johnson Creek.

For its part, the village board voted unanimously to help the electronic cigarette business. Village Trustee Rick Stevens even noted that he had used e-cigarettes to kick his 50-year-old habit of smoking cigarettes.

The village board is the first in the nation to use the law that allows local interference with the FDA regulations. We will continue to bring you updates on this story as it unfolds.

Electronic Cigarettes • April 5, 2017

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