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While the FDA has yet to make an official statement on it's ruling, we did get some good news today as Congress urged the FDA to not require vapor products already on the market to go through a lengthy and potentially multimillion dollar Premarket Tobacco Review application process. This bill would not impact the FDA’s ability to regulate these products, including setting rigorous product and manufacturing standards.
"Without action by Congress, the FDA's proposed regulations threaten to ban 99 percent-plus of vapor products currently available on the market,” AVA President Gregory Conley said in a news release. “This would be a disaster not only for thousands of small businesses, but also public health.”
It is unconscionable to effectively ban the sale of tens of thousands of vapor products while leaving combustible cigarettes freely available,” Conley said. Under the FDA’s proposal, the groups said all e-cigarettes and cigars on the market now would remain available so long as they file an application with the FDA within two years.
The FDA originally floated the idea of regulating e-cigarettes back in 2011, but four years later, public health advocates along with the entire ecig/vape community is still waiting.
The regulations were formally proposed last year to much criticism from both public health and industry groups. The final rule is expected by the end of this June.
Of particular concern with the FDA runling is the growth of Open System Vaping Products ( vs closed systems like cigalikes) and how Big Tobacco might try and pressure the FDA put a stop to the thousands of small businesses (vape shops, e-liquid manufacturers. mod makers, etc) that have sprung up to meet the rapidly growing demand for the 2nd and 3rd generation open system vaping products that are outside of the control and influence of Big Tobacco.
According to Wells Fargo Securities, open system vaporizers now contribute more than $1.5 billion to the overall electronic vaporizer market in the U.S., with electronic cigarettes accounting for $1 billion. Domestically, the combined electronic vaporizer market is now estimated at $2.5 billion -- and growing ( as of September 2014)
So while the industry and entire vape community still have to wait for the FDA ruling scheduled for the end of June, many are breathing (and exhaling a nice cloud) a sigh of relief with the news that Congress seems to be hearing what many millions have been calling for and that the FDA will hopefully act responsively and not bend to the whim of Big Tobacco or others looking to shut down an industry that is saving lives with each person that switches from combustable tobacco to using vapor products.