One of the most powerful advocacy groups in the country isurging Congress to support changes to regulations that, if enacted,willÂ all but wipe out the e-cigarette industry inAmerica.
In a letter to members of Congress, Americans for Tax Reform president GroverNorquist appeals to lawmakers to change the date when the Foodand Drug AdministrationÂ (FDA)Â will compel alle-cigarette and premium cigar products that came outafterÂ Feb. 15, 2007 to undergo the costly Pre-MarketTobacco Applications (PMTA) process.
The vast majority of e-cigarette and vaping products on themarket today were released after February 2007. The PMTA processfor each individual product could cost millions of dollars andvaping shops typically contain dozens if not hundreds of suchproducts, which willÂ amount to an impossible financialburden for most businesses.
If the regulations go into effect as is, as much as 99 percentof small businesses in the e-cigarette industry could be forced toclose, according to president of the American Vaping AssociationGregory Conley.
Norquist argues in the letter that changing the date, outlinedin the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, won’tÂ alterthe FDA’s ability to regulate e-cigarettes but grandfatheringin existing products willÂ “save the agency atleast two yearâ€™s worth ofpaperworkÂ and allow them to focus on encouraging goodmanufacturing practices.”
Furthermore, many in the e-cigarette industry fear that if theFDA doesn’t change course before it’s too late theregulations could have the unintended consequence of helping thetobacco industry. CEO of e-cigarette company V2 JanVerleurÂ wrote in August that only“deep-pocketed tobacco companies” canÂ affordto comply with the FDA’s rules.
This means America’s nine millionvapersÂ willÂ be left without the dynamic andinnovative market that has helped many of them quit smoking.
“I urge Congress to amend the Tobacco Control Actpredicate date for the tobacco-derived products in the electroniccigarette and vapor product category in an effort to protect publichealth and protect American jobs,”saysÂ Norquist.
“Such a change in the predicate date would not interferewith the short-term goals of responsibly regulating the products;it would simply help avoid the looming economic and public healthdisaster associated with status quo prohibition.”
The FDA is not the only agency taking aim atvapers.Â TheÂ Department of Housing and UrbanDevelopment opened a 60-day consultation on whether to includevaping in its blanket ban on smoking in public housing. The new rulewillÂ affect more than 700,000 unitsâ€œincluding over 500,000 units inhabited byelderly households or households with a non-elderly person withdisabilities.â€licensing@