Earlier this year comments were opened up for a proposal that the FDA created. Basically, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA seeks to include e cigarettes under the category of tobacco regulation (among other things in the proposal). So far, there has been little indication that the approval and implementation of this proposal is going to benefit consumers in any way. It will implement age restrictions, which is a good thing, but a good amount of the language in the proposal would limit innovation in the e cig industry. It will also do a lot of damage to small business owners and consumers as prices rise with regulations. On the positive side, the White House did eliminate wording that would put an end to online sales just this week. While that is step in the right direction it is still vital for vapers to let the FDA know how electronic cigarettes have helped them.
Consumers were invited to comment on the proposal, providing personal stories, factual information, and anything else that might demonstrate why or why not to allow this proposal to go into effect. CASAA and other entities that represent consumers requested early on that the comment period be extended. CASAA in particular has offered a detailed review of the proposal and offers several Calls to Action for consumers to respond to the proposal. The people spoke and the FDA listened. The comment period has been extended until August 8, 2014 instead of the original July 8, 2014 deadline. That means consumers have an additional 30 days to gather information and assert their opinion on the matter.
How to Comment
Consumers who want to comment on the proposal should first read it. You might also look over the interpretation offered by CASAA in order to further enhance your understanding of the proposal.
The FDA accepts electronic comments as well as comments through the U.S. Postal Service.
To comment electronically: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and fill in the form following the provided instructions. You will need to include the agency name (FDA) docket (FDA-2014-N-0189) and regulatory number (0910-AG38) to identify the document that you are commenting on.
To comment with physical documents (postal service, self-delivery, etc.): Make sure your document arrives at the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852
What Else Can Consumers Do?
Keep in mind that consumers can comment more than once. This means you can provide research in one comment, personal experience in another, or other information you feel would be useful. You might also look to CASAA to learn about their most recent calls to action.
The biggest thing that you can do is share information. Some people don’t even know about this proposal. If they do, they might not know what to do about it. When it comes to government entities, people often feel as if they have no power or don’t know what to do with the power they do have. You have a voice, so let it be heard. Start discussions about it in real life and using your social media accounts.
In the past, FDA regulation of any kind of tobacco product has meant higher prices and more restrictions. Don’t let e cigarettes be categorized in the same way that tobacco products are. The only possible benefit would be that more research will be done, but consumers don’t need this regulation for that to be done. In fact, the only real change would be a significant increase in prices and a paring down of options. If this sounds like something you would like to prevent, submit your comments to the FDA and let your voice be heard.