New Survey Reveals Disastrous Consequences of FDA Ecig Regulations
The FDA will release their new regulations for ecigarettes this year and opinions have varied widely on how it will impact the ecig industry as a whole. While most agree the results won’t be pretty, a new survey from CASAA reveals just how bad things could get. After surveying 20,000 ecig users at the end of 2015, it’s clear that stringent ecig regulations will only lead to a spike in smoking rates and booming black market for illegal e-cigarette transactions.
During the CASAA survey, 20,000 vapers responded to three specific scenarios for FDA regulation. In the first scenario, participants were told that the FDA mandated a total prohibition on ecig sales in the United States. When asked how the ecig users would respond, the answers were truly scary. Among those who had already stopped using tobacco products thank to ecigs, over a fifth said they would start smoking again. For those that still occasionally smoke, half reported they would increase their tobacco consumption. But even if the FDA prohibited ecigs completely, 90 percent of participants said they would still buy them from overseas or black market channels or by making their own products at home.
Next, CASAA painted a slightly less disturbing scenario where the FDA banned all ecigs except for a few cigalikes, which would be priced higher than they are in today’s market. These cigalikes would only be sold in tobacco and menthol flavors. Participants responded in much the same way as they would to a total ecig ban. A fifth of the former smokers said they would start smoking again. Many dual users reported they would start smoking more often. And nine out of ten participants said they would seek out their preferred ecig products and flavors through a black market.
For the final scenario, CASAA told participants the FDA would allow all kinds of ecigarettes, but only in tobacco and menthol flavors. Participants once again responded negatively to this form of regulation, showing that flavors are an important aspect of ecigs to keep former smokers tobacco-free. About 14 percent of the former smokers said they would return to cigarettes in this scenario. Over 30 percent of those who occasionally smoke said they would increase their tobacco consumption. Nine out of ten participants said they would continue looking for their favorite ecig flavors either overseas or through black market channels.
This survey makes it clear that the ecig community is not going to take regulations lying down. Even if the FDA cracks down on ecigs, users still plan to press on and just shift their purchases to black market channels. Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said the FDA could potentially cause more problems than solutions with their regulations and they don’t seem to care.
“Despite being statutorily required to study the black market consequences of new regulations, the FDA has yet to mutter a single word about this subject,” Conley said. “The agency cannot honestly claim to be ignorant of the potentially multi-billion dollar underground market that the deeming regulation would create.”
How would you respond if the FDA banned flavors other than tobacco and menthol? Would you comply or would you seek out your favorite ecig flavors through black market channels? Would you go back to cigarettes?