Despite FDA Regulations, The Vaping Industry WILL Survive
The decision to move forward with new FDA regulations has caused widespread doom and gloom in the vaping community. Such a reaction is understandable, and there's no doubt that the new rules will cause companies, jobs and even lives to be lost. We recently discussed some of the potential impacts, but moaning and groaning about how unfair the situation is won't make things any better. We need to take decisive, positive steps to rescue our industry from regulatory oblivion, and keep vaping on…
There isn't anyone in the vaping community who thinks that the proposed rules, as they stand, are good for the vaping industry or society as a whole. We strongly suggest that you support vaping advocacy groups such as CAASA, Not Blowing Smoke, SFATA and The Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition – who are fighting for our right to vape and standing up for the entire vaping community.
And please support HR 2058, which would change the grandfather date for vapor products from 2007 to present, allowing for more modern devices to be sold without FDA approval. CASAA has a simple form available to send a pre-written letter of support for HR 2058 to your local members of Congress.
The FDA Will Not Destroy Vaping
There's no doubt that the landscape will change drastically when the new vaping regulations take effect in a few years – and that's definitely not a good thing for those of us that love our current hardware and accessories. With that being said, here are six reasons why vaping will survive:
1. Quality Products Still Available
We're going to lose a lot of our vaping products, and it's going to suck. Estimates vary, but we'll probably see between 80 to 90% of the market completely disappear.
Let's take Mount Baker Vapor for example. They sell at least 90 different flavors of e-juice on their website and most of them are available in various nicotine strengths and PG/VG levels, giving them hundreds of different products. Up until now, they've had a huge selection because there was no reason not to offer so much variety, but after the new vaping regulations take effect they'll be forced to sell only their best products.
Compare this to a company like Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has literally thousands of different products, but around 90% of their sales come from just three: Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and Diet Coke. Forcing Coca-Cola to sell just those three brands would undoubtedly hinder the company, but it probably wouldn't go bankrupt.
In a similar fashion, we can imagine that brands like Mount Baker Vapor will continue moving forward with just four or five of their most successful products. Sure, the lack of variety could hurt them (and annoy us!), but they will also benefit from a smaller pool of competitors and it's even possible that some consumers might be drawn to a simpler and easier-to-understand range of products.
Most importantly of all, the vaping products left on the market will still be better than cigarettes, which means that STRONG DEMAND WILL CONTINUE.
2. Vaping Innovation Will Continue Elsewhere
The FDA regulations will definitely stifle innovation here in the United States, but that won't stop it from occurring overseas and elsewhere around the world; especially in China, which has already proven itself capable of producing high quality products, with reputable brands such as Kangertech and Innokin.
The new regulations also won't stop people from innovating in their basements and garden sheds, as they did in the early days. Just like before, the internet means that any sufficiently interesting innovation will quickly become common knowledge, and it won't be long until the most innovative products are either imported into the US or prove popular enough to warrant a PMTA.
3. A New Black Market Will Emerge
The people who enjoy vaping today won't suddenly stop vaping tomorrow just because their favorite vaping products have been taken off the shelves. Instead, they'll look to source their supplies from other, less legal locations. Buying nicotine concentrate online is easy to do and cheaper than buying pre-mixed e-liquids. Those who learn how to mix themselves will probably provide for friends and family and could even make a tidy “under the table” profit while doing so.
4. The FDA Faces Some Serious Legal Challenges
The FDA's new vaping regulations are contradictory in so many ways that I'd have to write a completely separate article on the subject, but I'll point out a few of my favorite examples of PURE RIDICULOUSNESS.
To regulate e-cigs, the FDA had to do a little Jedi mind trick and persuade everyone that e-cigarettes are tobacco products, despite not actually containing tobacco. To secure their position, they’ve now gone one step further and stipulated that retailers can no longer inform their customers that e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, nor can they inform them that they don't produce smoke. Amazingly, this still holds true even if they're selling nicotine-free e-cigarettes.
Fortunately, the US has this little thing called the First Amendment protecting free speech, and it doesn't take a lawyer to see how a law preventing someone from talking honestly about their business could be considered unconstitutional.
The other place where the FDA looks vulnerable is in the way it treats cigarettes and e-cigarettes differently. To bring a vapor product to market, you need to demonstrate what the health risks/benefits might be compared to other vaping products that already exist. Strangely, tobacco companies don't have to do this when they bring a new cigarette to market. Yet they're supposedly the same?
The FDA is trying to have it both ways. E-cigarettes are treated as a ‘tobacco product’ when they need to write regulations, but for some unexplained reason, e-cigarettes are forced to jump through extra hoops to gain approval.
I can't see these regulations lasting very long before someone, somewhere, is able to mount an effective legal challenge. The Cole amendment is one example of how the FDA’s regulations can be altered, and Nicopure (parent company of Halo Cigs) is the first company to file a suit challenging the FDA.
5. “FDA-Approved E-Cigs” Could Disarm Critics
The majority of the complaints against e-cigarettes can be summed up in just a few words: “we don't know enough about them yet”.
The PMTA will require vaping products to undergo ridiculous and obviously punitive levels of testing. The (admittedly small) silver lining is that testing will give vaping companies a bunch of data, and that data will be used to conclusively prove that the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping outweighs the risks.
So the PMTA could prove to be its own undoing. Vaping companies will be able to sell “FDA-approved” products, tell customers the exact chemical make up of those products (based on expensive laboratory testing) and explain exactly why they're less of a health risk than smoking cigarettes.
6. Vaping Companies Have Been Preparing
E-cigarettes were always going to become regulated at some point. We might be shocked by how strict and sometimes nonsensical the rules are, but we're not shocked by the fact that there are rules, or that things are changing.
The smartest companies knew something like this was coming and have been preparing for it for a while. Innokin, for example, recently sent out a newsletter outlining how they've been preparing for FDA regulations for over three years. They are well into the process of aerosol testing their Endura T18 Kit and already know which of their products are likely to survive thanks to their legal team. Other companies have undoubtedly been doing the same.
Stay Calm and Vape On!
None of this excuses or endorses the vaping regulations. This is a frightening time for anyone who works in the vaping industry or anyone who has used e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking. The important thing is not to panic. If we stay calm, optimistic and organised, we can get past the challenges that lie ahead.