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White House puts kibosh on flavorings ban in proposed FDA e-cig regulations

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Just a few days ago, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) deleted specific language in the recently announced FDA e-cig regulations that would have essentially banned the sale and manufacturing of flavored e-juices. But the original wording of the document is also drawing a great deal of controversy.

The vaping industry is reeling from the May 5 announcement of the FDA e-cig regulations largely because of a new requirement for retailers to undergo a very extensive approval process that will cost about $1 million per product. According to the original draft, the FDA e-cig regulations do not go into effect for a full two years. Retailers then have another 12-months for their products to be approved, if they can afford the costly application fee.

But the grace period for flavored e-juices was significantly shortened to 90-days after the regulations take effect. Organizations like the FDA and the CDC have long been claiming that sweeter flavorings like cotton candy and Bazooka Joe are attracting huge numbers of teen vapers. According to a recent Reuters report, the White House not only deleted the language for the proposed ban, it eliminated the FDA’s reasoning from the regulations, as well.

White House receives mixed reactions

Spokespersons for both sides of the electronic cigarette debate immediately began to express mixed opinions to the White House’s announcement. Anti-vaping activist groups were understandably frustrated by the striking down of the proposed ban while vaping advocates largely viewed the announcement as a victory. Others fell somewhere in the middle.

“The FDA dismisses the experiences of millions of adult ex-smokers who quit with flavors as mere ‘anecdotes’…Meanwhile, the agency has spent tens of millions of dollars researching new nicotine products, but has thus far utterly failed to study the issue of flavors and smoking cessation. Ultimately, this furor is about next to nothing: without a change in the February 2007 predicate date, on August 8, 2018, over 99% of vapor products on the market will be banned by the FDA…While the White House should have never approved the FDA's disastrous deeming ban, putting the brakes on this particular aspect was the right thing to do.”

- Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association (AVA)

Conley is referring to the controversial Cole-Bishop Amendment that would essentially move the predicate date of the FDA e-cig regulations forward from the original April 2007 to the present day. But even many in the vaping industry believe that passing the amendment is only a temporary solution. FDA regulations that treat e-cigs in the same regard as traditional tobacco products will stifle future innovation and be disastrous for long term public health. As a result, organizations like the AVA are also lobbying Congress to take more decisive action and overrule the FDA e-cig regulations completely.

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