The House Appropriations Committee Just Handed The Vaping Industry A Big Win
The House Appropriations Committee may have just saved vaping for all of us. Just this morning, the House Committee voted 31-19 to exempt electronic cigarettes and other vaping related products currently on the market from the FDA’s pending regulations. Attached to their momentous decision is a mandate on advertising and labeling in order to keep the products from falling into the hands of minors.
The FDA’s proposed deeming regulations have weighed heavily above the vaping industry for over the past year due to the crippling effect it would have on the industry if passed. The FDA’s proposal aimed to subject vapor products sold since February 15, 2007 to a time-consuming and expensive regulatory process titled the Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA).
Per the FDA’s own evaluations, for one product application a manufacturer would need to pay at least $330,000—in reality, it could cost millions. This would essentially wipe out about 99% of the vapor products currently available.
The Decision That Saved Your Vape
But today, April 16 the House Appropriations Committee voted in an amendment to the FY 2017 FDA-agricultural funding bill that would only subject vape products that have been released 21 months after the publication of FDA’s finalized “deeming regulations”.
The amendment backed by Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) also includes a restriction on vapor product advertisements in newspapers, magazines and other printed media. It also restricts sales to face-to-face interactions unless the vendor can ensure that minors cannot access online order shipments or vending machine sales.
The new amendment also calls on the FDA to issue a rule on product standards for e-cigs and other vaping products and a final regulation on labeling that would denote the product’s nicotine content. The new label regulation will also require manufacturers to include phrases such as, “Keep out of reach of children” and “underage sale prohibited”.
“We are going to take a product off the market that actually helps people stop smoking,” argued Representative Cole addressing the FDA’s deeming proposal, which if passed would force vapor products, which have helped many consumers make the switch from smoking tobacco cigarettes through the expensive PMTA process. “Regulating through a rear-view mirror is a very dangerous thing to do.
But not all representatives felt the same way; many Democrats had opposed the amendment such as Nita Lowey (D-NY) whom had described it as a “misguided and dangerous” amendment that “would likely increase cancer rates.”
This amendment is definitely a great win for the vaping industry; the Committee’s decision now has a chance to move forward as part of an appropriations bill and can be voted on in the House of Representatives.
Celebrate for only a short time as our work is not done yet, CASAA pointed it out perfectly that Rep. Cole's amendment should not be confused with his bill HR 2058, even though they both push for an update to the predicate date for newly deemed tobacco products--they are two very different measures. Please continue to show your support HR 2058 and you can do so by following CASAA's easy to use template found here.