When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first released new deeming regulations in 2016 that will essentially bankrupt the American vaping industry by 2018, two Republican congressmen immediate fought back. Representatives Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Sanford Bishop of Georgia created what is now referred to as The Cole-Bishop Amendment which would essentially move forward the predicate date of the deeming regulations by almost ten years.
But the bill has been stalled in Congress for over a year, even though both the House and the Senate are Republican-controlled. When Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency, the passage of the Cole-Bishop Amendment seemed all but certain. But with a very rocky start to his first 100-days in office, neither Trump nor Congress have budged on the bill just yet.
Meet physician and addiction specialist Terry Sellers
In an Op-Ed published last month in the Salt Lake Tribune, Dr. Terry Sellers from Orem, Utah, expressed his strong concern for the lack of urgency in passing the Cole-Bishop Amendment. Furthermore, he also wonders why the Republicans have not yet repealed the FDA deeming regulations entirely. A highly-regarded physician and addiction specialist, Dr. Sellers discusses how important vaping is to patients in rehabilitation facilities beginning on the road to recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.
“People with drug or alcohol dependency have a higher rate of dependency on cigarettes and because most treatment facilities don't allow for smoking, e-vapor products are often a useful and safer method for them to lessen this dependence. My professional experience is that e-vapor products are potentially an effective tool in reducing smoking and could be a less harmful alternative at that. Given the choice between cigarettes and e-vapor products, the choice is very clear — e-vapor products are a worthwhile alternative.”
“It's no doubt the FDA's job is to regulate these products and to make sure they're safe, but the FDA shouldn't be stifling something that could be a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products. Not to mention, this (Cle-Bishop) bill has bipartisan support and enshrines important regulations on e-vapor products including protections limiting advertising to children. “
“A failure to update this predicate date could impact consumers by drastically limiting the number of e-vapor products that could be sold on the market as e-vapor product makers have to navigate the FDA's lengthy review process.”
But Dr. Sellers isn’t alone. Many local vape shops around the country are asking their customers to support the Cole-Bishop Amendment. At the time of the writing of this article, Congress has just begun to debate whether or not to include the proposed legislation into the first fiscal budget of the new President. Will the Cole-Bishop Amendment make the cut? Or does Donald Trump’s lack of political clout mean that the amendment will once again be temporarily overlooked?
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