The War on Vaping consisted of multiple battles in 2016, from the raising of the legal smoking age in Hawaii on New Year’s Day to an FBI investigation into the Indiana vaping laws involving the now Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. As the Presidential Election came to a close on November 8, Republican Donald Trump claimed victory, much to the surprise of the national media and even the candidate himself. Instead of the vaping industry bracing for another four years of Obama-approved FDA deeming regulations, the surprise GOP victory gave us new hope.
Some important vaping milestones from 2016
- January 1: Hawaii becomes the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21. California follows close behind by implementing the similar legislation some five months later on June 9.
- February 11: Rep. Duncan Hunter from California pulls out his favorite vape mod during a congressional committee meeting, labeling him The Vaping Congressman forevermore.
- March 3: Vaping on airplanes becomes illegal.
- April 1: An April Fools Day prank involving a fake news story goes viral and scares the heck out of the American vaping industry…temporarily. The story involved claims of a fictitious Chinese lawmaker named Chief Long Dong of the Xinsha Tobacco Authority stating that China would no longer export vape goods to the USA.
- May 5: The FDA deeming regulations are officially announced. The vaping industry immediately spins out of control.
- May 9: Nicopure Labs from Tampa, Florida, files the very first lawsuit against the FDA deeming regulations. The lawsuit is still pending.
- April: The Cole-Bishop Amendment to the FDA deeming regulations passes the House but stalls in the Senate. The bill attempts to extend the related predicate date by moving it forward some eight years.
- July 1: Indiana House Bill 1432 goes into effect, essentially requiring all e-liquid manufacturers to hire a security firm with highly specialized credentials. Although businesses can hire any company that “fits the bill,” it is later discovered that only one company in the entire state has the needed credentials - Mulhaupt’s of Lafayette. An FBI investigation is launched. Governor Mike Pence signed the legislation into law and would later become the next Vice President of the United States.
- August 8: FDA deeming regulations officially go into effect. Vape shops can no longer sell to minors or show customers how to build coils or conduct other minor alterations.
- Late August: Pennsylvania announces a 40 percent e-cig tax that threatens over 300 vape shop owners. Months later, they band together and file a class action lawsuit.
We also watched as Senator Ron Johnson repeated sent letters to the head of the FDA, Robert Califf, demanding further information into the decision-making process behind the controversial FDA deeming regulations. Califf would usually fail to respond, or if he did, his responses were deemed “insufficient” by Johnson, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
But now that 2016 has come to an end, the American vaping industry is somewhat hopeful that the new Trump Administration will successfully overturn the FDA deeming regulations once and for all. Trump and the Republican Party are famously anti-government regulation of just about any kind, but some of Trump’s cabinet appointments leaves many vaping advocacy groups scratching their proverbial heads. While 2016 definitely had its fair share of challenges, 2017 promises to be even more eventful when it comes to the War on Vaping.