With the sharp increase in popularity of e-Cigarettes, deemed as a safe non-tobacco product and accessible by all, the extra exposure has commanded careful consideration as to how it should be regulated.
e-Cigarettes are considered an intermediate step in the journey to quit smoking. That is one of its marketing strengths. In what used to be a fairly free marketplace, newer sellers may find themselves bound by restrictions.
If the Food and Drug Administration has its way, the new vapor industry may just find itself choking to death.
The FDA plans to regulate the emerging, yet hearty, vape business. This will require any elecronic cigarette product produced after 2007 to get FDA approval before being sold.
This equates to hiring experts to medically research each device to determine its impact on health, which can take months and will cost approximately $3-4 million. Each application for approval will require 5,000 hours of processing time.
Considering the size of most e-cig establishments, most will not carry the clout to foot the bill to get approved; and although several states have bans on vending these vapor machines, they are popping up faster than mushrooms during monsoon.
"There's no vape shop anymore if this [law] goes through," Greg Conley, former legislative director for the Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association (CASAA), told me. He's now president of the American Vaping Association (yeah that’s a thing), and working with other advocates to convince the FDA to revise its rules.
The only manufacturers of e-cigarettes that will be able to pay for permission to sell are the larger tobacco companies, who are hailing the new invention after reeling from attacks on tobacco.
However, vaping aficionados argue that there is a difference.
e-Cigarettes that are mass produced and pre-loaded are just not as good as the ones you get at local establishments. The DIY models, revered by the vaping community, are like comparing a custom brewed cup of java handed to you by a barista, as opposed to a cup of Folgers.
e-Cig manufacturers looking to get past any FDA ruling will see value in persuading the FDA that “permitting such tobacco product to be marketed would be appropriate for the protection of the public health.” Stressing a product’s ability to help in the process of quitting, and thereby promote healthier living, may help while treading these new waters.