The Government Wages War On Electronic Cigarettes
There is a war brewing, pitting the U.S. government against the electronic cigarette industry, and virtually no one outside of the business seems to be aware of it. And while it seems that many traditional smokers are finding it to be helpful, the government seems poised to ground it into dust.
Such is the way of regulation in the American marketplace.
Value Walk recently did an article that discusses the FDA regulations that are threatening to cripple the e-cigarette industry, which is important enough to discuss. Every e-cigarette user ought to know about the regulations and how the government’s overreach may end up having an effect on how people use these devices.
The most curious of these regulations comes from the past; 2009, to be exact. The Tobacco Control Act was passed into law then and stipulated that any and all e-cigarette products released after February 15, 2007, would have to undergo an applications process.
Why February 15, 2007? No one seems to know, but this predicate date is strange. The e-cigarette market wasn’t fully formed until 2008, which makes the market almost nonexistent in 2007. But this is the predicate date and even a call for a new date to be imposed was dismissed.
What’s important about the date is that every e-cigarette product, both devices and e-liquids, that were created after February 15, 2007, would have to undergo the “Pre-Market Tobacco Applications” process. This is a belabored process that can take up to 1,700 hours for a review and hundreds of thousands of dollars for each product. That means every device and every e-liquid at every nicotine strength would have to go through the process separately.
This amounts to millions of dollars for inventory. While some larger companies, including tobacco companies who have gotten into the e-cigarette business, can pay for the process and be patient while it concludes, most are small businesses that would have to close because they can’t pay for the PTMA process. And incidentally, those tobacco companies who can afford to pay for the PTMAs are the only ones who have e-cigarette products that were on the market prior to the predicate date.
The PTMAs are considered to be the death knell for the e-cigarette industry because, as the American Vaping Association put it: “The agency’s economic analysis of the rule predicts that the cost of such approvals will be so high that approximately 99 percent of products on the market will not even be put through the application process.”
So what does this say about the FDA’s regulations when it comes to e-cigarettes? It says that the government cares more about eliminating your right to e-cigarettes more than it cares about your public health. It says the government is willing to waste over a decade of innovation in e-cigarette technology, a technology that is saving the lives of smokers, in order to satisfy some distorted agenda that panders to Big Tobacco. It says that the government wants to make money off of an industry that they’re trying to kill rather than work with small businesses to help the economy in a responsible way.
Most importantly, it says that the government doesn’t think you have the ability to decide whether or not e-cigarettes are the best smoking cessation method for you. And when it comes down to it, shouldn’t you have the freedom to make that choice for yourself?