Guest Blog - Glenn Kassel of SFATA
Glenn Kassel is an active member of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association Board who are a huge information source for electronic cigarette manufacturers, consumers and retailers alike.
With being apart of the eCig Industry since 2008, Glenn has seen many changes and also has gained a passion to help keep the Vaping Community and eCig Industry informed about all e-cig related laws, regulations and news. Becoming an active member of SFATA was a perfect fit.
Knowing that Glenn was very active within the eCig Industry and has been since 2008, we invited him to help us get the word out on the changes that have happened within our industry. To follow are summaries of those changes on behalf of Glenn and SFATA.
SFATA has rolled out “Age to Vape”, a national age verification identification system for use in vape stores around the country; further evidence that we support the age restriction and have always encouraged our members to only sell to those of legal age.
Product quality standards and labeling:
We support appropriate product regulations such as ingredient listings and warning labels. We disagree with the use of Substantial Equivalency (SE) as a way of exempting vapor products from the need for Pre Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA’s); because regulation as tobacco because does not fit; it’s inappropriate. Ours is not a combustible cigarette but it is technology device and should be regulated as such.
If SE is imposed, innovation will be stifled and only those with REALLY deep products will survive. 99+% of companies in the vapor industry will disappear, taking with them hundreds of thousands jobs. Imposing SE on vapor products is equivalent to imposing SE for cells phones. Would you like to be forced to use the RAZR, Blackberry or Samsung flip phone that you had on Feb 15, 2007?
(The iPhone debuted on June 29, 2007.) If SE is initiated, eliquid companies will be forced to apply for PMTA’s for every SKU they produce. At an estimated cost of $1 million per application, an e-liquid company with 100 different flavors in four different nicotine strengths will have to invest $400 million on new product applications. And who knows how many years….
Flavor options are extremely important to the consumer experience. We oppose any flavor bans for eliquids. As SFATA’s Executive Director, Cynthia Cabrera, often says,”You don’t hit 18 and lose your taste buds”. The majority of the eliquids sold are flavored (non tobacco and menthol) because people like flavors!
Loosely interpreted, one could surmise that the sampling ban could include sampling flavors at one of the approximately 15,000 vape shops across the US. We believe that as long as there is age verification, sampling should be permitted.
We support and encourage product standards:
Understanding that it takes years to reach industry standards, our Organization has partnered with FiVape from France, who has almost 100 members, on setting out international guidelines for eliquids, cartomizers, batteries, and packaging-labeling (including the use of child proof caps on all eliquid bottles).
We applaud Lou Ritter and AEMSA for taking positive steps in developing guidelines for eliquid that can be adopted. Our goal is to provide guidance and guidelines to ensure consistent, quality products and that these can serve as a template for the FDA to help ensure product safety, versus the need to travel the SE or PMTA paths.
To summarize, SFATA believes there is a need for appropriate and reasonable regulation of vaporizers like ecigarettes. These products represent a new and unique category; they are not tobacco products - they are technology products. Attempting to squeeze an innovative vapor product into a regulatory structure that was designed for combustible and oral tobacco products is simply inappropriate.
This is a fast growing industry and those players looking long-term are trying to get ahead of the curve by doing things the right way. It is my belief that those companies unwilling to invest in doing things properly do not belong in this industry - one rotten apple can ruin the barrel!
I have met with owners of vape shops that proudly proclaim they make their eliquids in their “clean” bath tubs and send employees home with one-gallon jugs of eliquid to fill bottles at their homes. These “cowboys” should ride into the sunset and leave the business to real and passionate business owners who put safety and customer satisfaction first.
Want to know the latest happening with the FDA? Check out our blog titled FDA Extends Commenting Period on eCigarette Regulation >