The electronic cigarette industry has grown and prospered significantly over the past five years in the United States, changing millions of people’s of lives while creating thousands of jobs and contributing billions of dollars to the domestic and global economies. As with many new industries that begin to scale and become popular, the government takes notice. While there are currently zero federal regulations being imposed on the electronic cigarette industry at the moment, big tobacco has been making the argument that the Food and Drug Administration should start to regulate the vapor industry; citing the FDA’s existing authority over tobacco cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and various other tobacco-containing products.
While vaping may look similar to traditional tobacco smoking, it drastically differs as electronic cigarette products contain no leaf tobacco. Nevertheless, many vapor opponents believe that the industry should be grouped and regulated as a tobacco product under the Family Smoking and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Due to public pressure, the FDA has been analyzing and reviewing the electronic cigarette industry, with commentary coming from both sides of the aisle, for over two years now. V2 and other electronic cigarette manufacturers continue to encourage the FDA to implement unbiased, common sense regulation that will preserve the public’s access to ecigs without stifling innovation or economic growth.
Earlier this month, the FDA compiled a final proposal of deeming regulations and handed it over to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review. Unfortunately, the public does not have the details of the proposed guidelines and regulations but the news of this final step towards federal regulation is significant for both electronic cigarette businesses and vapor enthusiasts who could potentially be negatively effected. This regulation could ultimately change the industry for the better or put many electronic cigarette firms out of business, leading to millions of vapor enthusiasts with limited access to very few vapor options.
According to the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), the FDA’s final deeming regulations submission to the OMB is the eighth step in the federal government’s nine-step regulatory process. If the OMB approves the FDA’s proposed regulations, the final step requires that the regulations be published in the Federal Register. According to the Associated Press, after being made public, the deeming regulations would go into effect 30 days from the date of publication, not giving electronic cigarette industry professionals much time to adapt.
Although we do not have confirmation of the current proposed regulation, we expect it to include a specific set of laws for current electronic cigarette manufacturers and distributors, including a ban on sales to minors under the age of 18-years-old, warning labels on e-liquid products, company registration with the FDA, product and ingredient annual reports to the FDA, prohibited distribution of free samples and prohibition of vending machine sales in places where minors have access. The effect of these regulations for newcomers into the electronic cigarette industry is expected to be much more catastrophic, but again, we do not have any public, finalized outline of the FDA’s proposed regulations.
As of mid October, the OMB has 90 days to review the FDA’s suggested electronic cigarette regulations, which means it could become law as early as January 2016. As a responsible industry leader that wants to keep all loyal customers informed, we believe everyone should understand what is happening in the federal regulatory world of e-cigarettes and share this information with friends and fellow vapers. It is never too late to send emails, letters and social media messages to your state and local officials, as well as FDA professionals. Make sure to share this update with friends on social media and tell us in the comments below what your thoughts are on this impending electronic cigarette regulation.