The FDA has recently announced new regulations for electronic smoking devices that will take effect in 2018. The regulation will look to control the use of products like e-cigarettes and vape pens. In just a few years, the popularity of vaping and e-cigarettes have gone from a cult following to a mainstream presence. Perhaps it’s the growing popularity that caused the government to step in and impose regulations.
Why the FDA has stepped in
Since the first appearance of electronic smoking devices on the market there has been concern over their unregulated nature. Most of the worry has focused on their availability to minors. As the devices can be purchased by anyone, it is argued that they may act as an introduction to a lifetime of smoking. E-cigarette use is rising among teens, the population most affected by tobacco purchase restrictions. Once these teens hit 18 (or 21 in California) it is feared that they will turn to tobacco or marijuana based products. The fact that many of the liquids used for vaping contain nicotine or THC has not helped to alleviate fears.
The new regulations will force manufactures of the flavored liquid used in vape devices to undergo testing and seek FDA approval before marketing the product to consumers. This is viewed by many to be a death-blow to the industry. Unfortunately few manufactures will be able to undergo the costly testing/approval process which is likely to cost upwards of $1m per product.
Proponents of the legislation have declared this a victory for American health. Studies have shown that vape liquids, which are heated into a vapor and inhaled, contain a number of carcinogens. Removing the majority of these unregulated product from store shelves will ensure that only those products deemed safe by the FDA will pass through to consumers.
Criticism of the new vaping laws
Opponents of the new FDA vape regulations have raised a number of arguments against the legislation. By limiting the sale of vape products on the market the government will be restricting the access of these products to both minors and adult users. This is a problem because many adults have made the switch away from cigarettes to vaping devices and e-cigs. Many liquids do not contain nicotine, and those that do allow for users to select the nicotine concentration the desire. Although not everyone chooses to vape nicotine-free, it has helped countless people cut down on their nicotine intake.
Also, it is argued that a prohibition of vape products will have little effect on the people using these products. The restriction and removal will encourage many to source vape liquids and e-cigs from overseas. It is entirely possible that the products sourced from overseas will be of an inferior quality and may be more harmful to users. Many argue that the FDA is creating a black market for vape liquids, and in doing so will actually do more harm than good.
What to expect
Until the new vaping regulations take effect in 2018 business will likely continue as usual. However, it is expected that manufacturers will begin to cut production in the next year or so. This means shoppers will soon be faced with shortages of top products.To combat this, vapers will be forced to stock up on their preferred products and buy as much as they can before the products disappear from US shelves.
If the FDA gets its way, and regulates the sale and purchase of electronic smoking devices, it is unlikely to signal the end of vaping. Instead, the industry will need to adapt to fit the governments new requirements. Manufactures will need to make large investments for the testing of products they sell, almost certain to lower the total number of products they offer. This road to regulation will be hard-fought by proponents of both sides. Lawsuits are already being launched against the FDA vape regulations which you can read more about here.