The Newest Threat to Vaping: The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act
Just when vapers hoped the anti-vaping tide might be turning a bit with the resignation of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, a new bill was introduced to Congress that threatens to decimate everything under the vaping sun. Meet the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act.
The bill, introduced by Reps. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Donna Shalala of Florida, contains provisions that would drastically limit choices for adult vapers, shutter all remaining vape stores and likely destroy the vaping industry overnight leaving only a few large players.
Key provisions of the bill include:
- Banning all flavors, except tobacco flavors. This ban extends to menthol flavored cigarettes as well as flavored cigars but would obviously have the largest impact on the vaping industry.
- Authorizing the FDA to collect at least $100 million in "user fees" from the vaping industry which will have the additional consequence of putting upward pressure on retail prices for vaping products.
- Banning online sales of vaping products including electronic cigarettes and e-liquids despite the fact that age verification technology for online sales is as effective if not even more effective than in-store verification.
- Forcing the FDA to issue a ruling on synthetic nicotine in an effort to close the loophole that currently exists in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that allows e-liquid manufacturers who use synthetic nicotine to be exempt. This exemption is there because the Act defines nicotine as “made or derived from tobacco." Synthetic nicotine does not fit that definition allowing some crafty e-liquid manufacturers to get around the legislation.
- Extending the current FDA rules related to the sales and marketing of cigarettes to cover all vaping products as well.
- Raising the age at which consumers can purchase cigarettes or vaping products to 21. While some states have already enacted similar legislation, this bill would do so on a federal level.
It should be noted that there are other bills currently making their way through Congress that contain one or more of these same provisions but no other single bill is as sweeping or all encompassing in its scope.
The effect of the bill on the choices available to adult vapers would be draconian. Vapers would be confined to tobacco only e-liquid flavors and would also be limited to only what is available to them at their local retailers since online sales would no longer be allowed.
The effects of this bill would also undoubtedly include the collapse of the vaping industry, at least the part that is comprised of small businesses and independent vape companies. If the only e-liquid flavor allowed was tobacco, there simply would not be enough variety and variation to sustain the current number of e-cig companies. A handful of the biggest players who are large enough to command shelf space in convenience stores would remain. All small business vaping companies would be forced to fold.
The same holds for vape shops. Vape shops are kept afloat by offering vapers a greater variety and choice, as well as better service and a far more knowledgeable staff to help them successfully transition to vaping. Good luck getting that kind of support at a convenience store. But with only tobacco flavors remaining, there simply would not be enough products left to keep vape shops open.
We're sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but, unfortunately, the threat to vaping is far from over.
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