As both the FDA and the CDC keep e-cigarettes under attack, one FDA member makes a surprising comment. At this point, the main issue does not seem to be that vapor products are considered harmful, but that the FDA cannot regulate them as they would like to. Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products asserts that e-cigs are undoubtedly healthier for consumers than tobacco. He further goes on to say that a lack of information about the dangers or benefits of e cigarettes should not put them out of the range of regulation by the FDA.
There are plenty of proposals on the table for e cigarettes right now. It starts with the FDA aiming to create their own definition of tobacco products and ends with seemingly simple items like nods toward the Paperwork Reduction Act. As CASAA discusses upon reviewing some of these proposals, some of these items would make it impossible for small businesses and medium sized businesses to sell e cigarettes or at least to sell the e cigarettes that many vapers enjoy the most. The only issue that would seem to benefit consumers in any way is the proposed Federal ban to sell to minors as regulated by the FDA. This is part of a larger scope to put e cig control in the hands of the FDA. The only problem is that vapor products could be kept out of children’s hands without stringent oversight from the FDA.
There is very little compelling evidence to suggest that e cigs are harmful in any way. Certainly when the director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products makes mention of e cigs being healthier than tobacco, it has to be obvious that vapor products are a step in the right direction. The real issue at hand is cash flow. If you can’t regulate it, you can’t charge a tax. Therein lies the crux of the matter at hand.
The FDA, CDC, and major tobacco companies as well as their stakeholders stand to lose quite a bit of cash flow with the increasing transition of smokers from tobacco to e cigarettes. Mitch Zeller makes that point obvious when he states that the lack of information isn’t the issue at hand; the lack of control is. In other words, this is a market issue, not a health issue. So what can consumers do to prevent yet another product from coming under complete control by the FDA and CDC? Make your voice known.
CASAA offers a plan to help prevent this control from happening and they don’t do it lightly. CASAA offers an in-depth review of every proposal that involves e cigarettes. Keep in mind that this is necessary because many times there are hidden agendas and details of a proposal that aren’t easily made known to the public. CASAA takes on that task and puts legalese into terms that everyone can understand. They also offer a call to action for consumers. Specifically, they are currently offering a call to action to push for an extension on comments.
If you want to get involved in the laws that are being made to govern the use of vapor products, you can join in one of the calls to action hosted by CASAA. If you think that these issues are too small to impact you, think again. One small example includes the fact that Rhode Island is proposing an 80% excise tax on vapor products. That wasn’t a typo, they are really asking for 80%.
Vapor products have helped numerous people quit smoking, thus reducing their costs when it comes to perishable goods as well as healthcare. The truth of the matter is that this isn’t sitting well with those whose bank accounts relied on these funds. If you want to keep vapor products in the hands of consumers, then now is the time to take action.