Vaping Sector Pins Hopes on Trump to Scrap Harsh New Rules
President Trump may have one of the lowest approval ratings of any new president, but vapers across the US are pinning their hopes on him to save the e-cigarette industry.
If Trump, along with Congress, doesn’t act, the Food & Drug Administration will get its way and a raft of potentially crippling new regulations will become law next year.
That could mean serious cash investments from e-cigarette makers so that they’re in compliance – estimated to be in the region of $1 million. Clearly, not every vaping firm has that kind of cash, so companies and jobs are at risk. Leading retailers such as Electric Tobacconist US are currently required under federal rules to check the photo ID of customers under 27 and only sell to those aged 18 and over. Physical establishments can only sell e-cigarettes in vending machines if it’s an adult-only venue, and cannot give away free ecig samples or components of them.
From May 2018, retailers will not be permitted to sell or distribute e-cigarettes if they do not carry an approved health warning on the package. Similarly, e-cig advertisements will also have to contain a health warning.
Why are compliance costs so extraordinarily high? Much of it is down to necessary research and testing, says the FDA — anywhere from $117,000 to $466,000. Vaping manufacturers are hoping Trump and his GOP Congress will ride to their rescue with their vow of slashing regulations and an overall business-friendly approach.
These hopes in the vaping industry come at a time of increased popularity of e-cigarettes and a number of large-scale studies from Britain that say it’s better for you than smoking. One, by the Royal College of Physicians, concluded that “the hazard to health arising from long-term vapor inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.” Basically, that’s 95% safer than lighting up a cigarette.
Here in the US, a growing number of doctors are saying vaping is a powerful way to finally kick the habit of tobacco smoking. Last year, a survey of more than 500 American doctors showed that 70% of them believed vaping was an effective way of getting people to stop smoking. Over 480,000 people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses in this country, and around 16 million others are suffering from a smoking-related disease. Medics are all too aware that anything they can do to wean people off tobacco is hugely important to public health.
So, will Trump dump the FDA rules and give vapers a break? Advocates of vaping say it makes ultimate sense to not only ditch the proposed new rules, but also roll back the existing ones, so that vaping devices are not treated the way harmful tobacco products are. Earlier this year, a group of 13 organisations wrote to Congressional leaders, asking them not to overly regulate the vaping sector.
“The FDA’s regulations threaten to kill an industry that has created tens of thousands of jobs by producing safer products that help many Americans quit smoking,” they wrote.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, says it’s not only about people being able to enjoy an e-cig, but that a large number of jobs are on the line.
“The election of President Trump was fueled by a lot of resentment about over regulation and not just in vapor community but in the US at large,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to save over 100,000 jobs.”
As President Trump knows only too well, money talks.
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