American politics is almost impossible to predict, but the idea of Congress saving vaping by going against the FDA seems almost impossible – until last Tuesday. As often happens in these matters, highly controversial issues like these tend to go completely unresolved for several months or even years before some dramatic event occurs almost overnight on Capitol Hill that changes the entire game forever.
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee voted 31-19 to revise the currently proposed FDA regulations regarding the vaping industry. The FDA originally wanted to require a very controversial Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) for all e-cigs and vaping devices that came onto the market after the predicate date of February 15, 2007, over nine years ago. Meanwhile, the process would be expensive and lengthy.
If Congress had given the FDA what it originally requested, then manufacturers of everything from box mods to vape batteries would have likely spent millions of dollars per product to jump through all the legal hoops of the PMTA application. Big Tobacco already follows this approval process, and only a single PMTA application has been approved by the FDA in the past six years. But according to many congressional leaders like Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), vaping is not smoking. The two industries should not be regulated in the exact same way.
Is Congress Saving Vaping? What’s Next?
Cole and Sanford spearheaded the newly amended language to the proposed FDA regulations, referred to as HR 2058, which essentially changes the predicate date to the future date that the legislation would be signed into law. That date might be 30-days from now or 30-years. But by extending that single date at least nine years forward, the House of Representatives is essentially agreeing to save over 99% of all e-cig and vaping products currently on the market. Vape shop owners and vaping enthusiasts around the world are breathing a sigh of relief.
But not so fast! The bill still has to be approved by the U.S. Senate. And as history has proven, anything can happen. Also, the e-liquids are not part of this new bill, which means that the FDA might try to fight back by imposing more severe restrictions on this region of the vaping industry.
Is Congress saving vaping? It certainly appears that they are trying, which is a positive step in the right direction. However, the vaping community is encouraged to continue voicing their outrage about the FDA. The Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association (CASAA) has an online petition that supports HR 2058, click here to include your signature.