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Mixed Reaction on e-cigarettes

Small vaping businesses fear that tough new regulations will push them out of the e-cigarette market, particularly if they are required to test hundreds of flavors, each with four or five different strengths of nicotine, on dozens of different devices. They claim that big tobacco would benefit from the regulations because the only e-cigarettes that big tobacco companies produce are cigalikes with just a few flavors and nicotine concentrations.

“Big tobacco is trying to push through regulations so that the only flavors you would be able to have are tobacco, cream, and menthol,” says Ryan Bixby, a passionate vaper who manages the D.C. basement shop, DC Vape Joint. To comply with the proposed regulation, companies would have to pony up on average about $250,000 per flavor, per nicotine strength, he says. “The rules are completely designed to push the small companies out of the market.”

Bixby, 31, and other experienced vapers say that tanks and mods provide “a more satisfying experience” than cigalikes, and therefore can help tobacco smokers make the switch.

Under FDA’s proposal, however, “the higher-quality e-cigarette products that are crucial for many smokers to permanently quit will be eliminated from the legal market,” says Carl V. Phillips, scientific director of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, a group that promotes e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as reduced-harm products relative to traditional cigarettes. “The only products that stand any chance of successfully navigating the premarket tobacco application process will be the ciga like products,” he notes in comments submitted in August to FDA.

Republican leaders in Congress are also raising concerns about the impact of FDA’s proposed e-cigarette rule on small businesses. Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) sent a letter in November to Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services, requesting that FDA change the grandfather date for tobacco products subject to its new rule. The lawmakers argue that because almost no e-cigarettes were on the market as of Feb. 15, 2007, the grandfather date would unfairly limit the growth of such products.

Several Democrats in Congress, on the other hand, are calling FDA’s proposal “timid and tepid.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), in particular, wants FDA to restrict the number of flavor options, advertising, and online sales of e-cigarettes. He and others, including 29 state attorneys general, are concerned about the growing use of e-cigarettes by youths under the age of 18.

Last year the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported that the number of youths in grades six through 12 who had never smoked a cigarette but had used e-cigarettes increased threefold, from about 79,000 in 2011 to more than 263,000 in 2013 (Nicotine Tob. Res. 2014, DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntu166).

Many medical organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), are also worried about the rise in e-cigarette use by minors. They are pushing FDA to subject e-cigarettes to the same regulations as traditional cigarettes, including banning e-cigarette flavors that appeal to kids.

“We are concerned that e-cigarettes may encourage nonsmokers, particularly children, to start smoking and develop nicotine addiction,” Peter Paul Yu, ASCO president, said in a statement last month.

For now, FDA is not proposing to ban online e-cigarette sales, e-cigarette television commercials, or the thousands of e-juice flavorings. Such restrictions may ultimately come, but first FDA plans to gather the scientific evidence to determine whether there is a need for such regulations. And that could take several years.

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About The Author

Jessica Miller is a professional author of many tobacco articles, trained seminars from New York to London contributing to the success of this area in the U.S. At present writes about everything that is interesting especially about cheap cigarettes online store, tobacco related subjects and cigarette effects.

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