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Cole and Bishop announce FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017

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Late last week, two of the vaping industry’s most favorite politicians on Capitol Hill announced a new piece of legislation called the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017. Republican Congressmen Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Sanford Bishop of Georgia have previously collaborated on a preceding bill known as HR 2058 and nicknamed the Cole-Bishop Amendment which has been stalled in Congress for over a year.

This latest endeavor essentially duplicates the legal objectives of the Cole-Bishop amendment by attempting to redefine the predicate date of February 15, 2007 as cited in the controversial FDA deeming regulations of May 2015. Currently, all vaping devices released for sale in the United States after this threshold date must undergo a very time-consuming and costly Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process. If the regulations are not modified within the next year, then many industry insiders predict that the majority of e-cig and vape retailers in the United States will be forced to close up shop.

FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 and a new predicate date

Reps. Cole and Bishop want to refine this predicate date by moving it forward to “21 months after the date of enactment of the FDA Deeming Authority 3 Clarification Act of 2017.” The two GOP leaders also released a press announcement last week with includes the following statements.

“Vapor products offer a promising path for harm reduction for those seeking to quit or limit their smoking. This legislation would ensure the FDA’s regulatory process does not limit the availability of safer tobacco options for those seeking to make use of them.”

-Representative Sanford Bishop

“While there is disagreement about whether certain tobacco products should be regulated or not, there should be agreement that new regulations should apply to products moving forward, and not retroactively. Inconsistent authority like this will be detrimental and unfair to many manufacturers and businesses. This legislation preserves the FDA’s ability to regulate these products on part with cigarettes, grandfathers currently available products and then requires the FDA’s approval before any new product is introduced.”

-Representative Tom Cole

So why did these pro-vaping politicians release a second piece of legislation that essentially mimics the original Cole-Bishop Amendment? The latest proposal goes a step farther than the first. If the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 is successfully passed by both houses of Congress, then the legislation has more long-term strength against possible future revisions by the uber-powerful FDA.

Where the original Cole-Bishop Amendment was only meant to be a temporary band-aid against the impending FDA deeming regulations, the new bill is viewed as a stepping stone to a more lasting separation of vaping devices from Big Tobacco products, in general. 

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