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Is the FDA now demanding biometrics fingerprint scanning on vaping devices?

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What would the world be like if vapers were forced to rely on fingerprint scanning technology every time that they wanted to activate their vape mods? This argument may be the basis for a new FDA probe, according to a recently updated version of the Cole-Bishop Amendment.

The original wording of the document attempted to redefine the controversial predicate date as set forth by the FDA deeming regulations of 2016. According to the FDA, any vaping device or product placed on the market after February 2007 is required to adhere to the Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) process formerly reserved only for Big Tobacco products. Cole-Bishop 1.0 wanted to move that date forward by about ten years.

What’s going on with Cole-Bishop?

The 2019 version keeps the predicate date, but it now applies only to Big Tobacco. All references to the vaping industry are essentially deleted. To make matters even worse, the revised bill now demands that the FDA conduct a new study into the possible health effects on requiring biometric technology on all devices. If this bill were to become law, the predicate date issue becomes obsolete. The fine print of the 2019 Cole-Bishop amendment states the following.

“The Commissioner of Food and Drugs 25 shall conduct a study on preventing the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (referred to in this section as 2 ‘‘ENDS’’) by youth. Such study shall include an analysis

(1) the potential costs and benefits of using, and requiring the use of, biometric security measures in ENDS

(A) during premarket development;

(B) at the time of sale; and

(C) during postmarket use;

(2) the effectiveness of such biometric security measures in preventing usage by youth of ENDS;

(3) the potential costs and benefits of requiring such 13 biometric security measures for sales of ENDS made 14 through mail delivery and via the Internet; and

(4) alternative technologies that may assist in preventing usage by youth of ENDS.

(b) The Commissioner of Food and Drugs shall provide a report on the results of the study under subsection (a) to the Committee on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.”

To be clear, the likelihood that the Cole-Bishop amendment – the 2019 version or otherwise – will be approved and enacted by Congress is almost nil. Simply put, the GOP and the Democrats have much bigger fish to fry before the midterm election occur in November, but the latest version gives the vaping community a little extra insight into the current thinking of FDA officials. The FDA is at least considering the passage of a new regulation that requires all vaporizers to contain biometric technology, which could come in the form of fingerprint scanning, facial recognition software, or even retina scanning, too. Of course, those good old-fashioned tobacco cigarettes would still be completely biometric-free. 

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