TRUMP: A Blessing or Curse for the Vaping Industry?
Love him or hate him, Trump may ultimately be responsible for giving you access to your vaping equipment after 2018. As most of you already know, new FDA regulations were passed before he took office and are threatening to shut down the entire vaping industry. Many of the vaping products you've come to know and love may no longer be available; including all of the latest vaping hardware, accessories and e-juice from hundreds of different manufacturers from around the country. But thanks to Trump, there may be a chance to prevent those rules from taking effect.
The New FDA Regulations
Many people use vaping as a way to stop smoking traditional cigarettes. For those who want to quit completely, it appears to be quite an effective and safe stepping stone. The early studies are clear: VAPING IS MUCH SAFER THAN SMOKING TOBACCO. Although the danger of long-term vaping remains to be seen, all signs point to significantly reduced risk when compared to traditional cigarettes.
However, the federal government under the Obama Administration believed that if something contained nicotine, then it must be as dangerous as smoking, despite the evidence that vaping could be 95% safer than traditional cigarettes.
Combustion is responsible for most of negative byproducts produced by smoking tobacco; a component that's completely removed from the vaporization process. Nevertheless, the FDA and the CDC say otherwise. In May of last year, new FDA rules were passed requiring all vaping products containing nicotine, as well any devices that deliver it, to undergo the same testing as normal tobacco products.
A Huge Price to Pay for Vaping
The problem is, testing is extremely expensive. Manufacturers will have to pay huge application costs; anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000 per product. This will completely destroy the vaping industry, leaving only the largest (Big Tobacco) players left. Innovation is sure to be stamped out completely.
Furthermore, the CDC appears to be on a crusade against all things that contain nicotine. A report late last year said that vaping was unhealthy and a risk to youth. Instead of seeing vaping as an opportunity to reduce smoking and all of the associated risks, they see it as a danger to public health. Some local municipalities agree and have been implementing their own taxes and regulations.
A Trump Administration Response?
The deadline for registering vaping products is August 18th, 2018. The process will be handled by the Food and Drug Administration; and although the Trump administration has't made any specific comments about vaping or e-cigarettes, they have talked about deregulating the FDA. Industry leaders are taking his soft stance on regulation as a sign that he may stop the upcoming changes.
We're not sure how his appointment of Scott Gottlieb to be the next commissioner of the FDA will play out, but Jim McDonald at Vaping360 believes that:
It's encouraging to see a health policy expert who isn't a wild-eyed anti-nicotine true believer.
Will Trump (or Gottlieb) throw the vaping industry a bone? Who knows, but Congress is already taking steps to alter the current FDA regulations. The Cole-Bishop Bill is designed to remove the “predicate” date from the new rules. Under the current requirements, any product made after February 15th, 2007 will be forced to undergo the expensive registration process.
By removing this date and shifting it forward, all of the most current products will remain on the market while only newly released ones will be required undergo testing. It's not a perfect solution, but it will allow much of the industry to survive by keeping higher quality e-cigarettes on the shelves.
Potential Negative Trump Policy
Overall Trump's positions appear to be a positive for the vaping industry, but one Trump policy could be damaging, and it relates to our relationship with China. Most vaping equipment is manufactured there, and if the Trump administration were to start a trade war with China it would certainly drive up costs. There's been some tough talk about taxing Chinese imports, and that's definitely not a positive for anyone who sells (or purchases) vaping equipment.
After decades of Big Tobacco misleading the public, I understand why the government is wary of any product that contains nicotine, but the FACT IS vaping is NOT THE SAME AS SMOKING. I believe that continued research will prove its safety, and if the Trump Administration does decide to take a softer stance it will certainly benefit smokers and our society as a whole. Even if Trump starts a trade war with China, higher cost vaping products are better than none at all…