Proposed FDA Regulations, Part 2
09 July, 2014
This following was originally posted at Facebook.com/smokescreenllc on July 5, 2014.
I spent all morning writing the following essay/plea knowing hardly anyone will read the entire post. I sincerely hope you do, but here is the TL;DR version:
We have one month left to comment to the FDA about proposed regulations which could send vaping back into the Dark Ages. #FreetoVape is a great tool through which to submit your intelligent, logical, civil comments. Please, please make your voice heard.
As we all enjoy the last hours of our celebration of Independence Day, it's the perfect time to reflect on the ideals on which our amazing country was established. The craziest idea ever--that citizens have the right, the obligation, to participate in how their lives are governed--was no longer a treasonous whisper with the creation of the United States of America. This grand experiment in freedom was unprecedented.
Ideally, we would all be so informed and zealous about being in control of our own lives that politics wouldn't be just a passing interest or a career for a wealthy few. However, we have structured our society and busied ourselves with other matters such that we have little time to be bothered with government and often feel overwhelmed and that our efforts are futile. So we choose a handful of issues that are of utmost importance to each of us.
If #vaping is one of those issues for you, then it's time to fight. The regulations that the FDA wishes to place on #ecigs are, frankly, outrageous. Testing is expected to cost at least tens of thousands of dollars for each variation of product (0mg Gator Blood vs. 0mg Gator Blood w/ menthol vs. 6mg Gator Blood, etc.). Any product (e-liquid and devices) not yet tested/studied/approved does not stay on the market when the regulations go into effect. A handful of products that existed before February 2007 would meet the expectations and be allowed to carry on. What are these products? They are similar to but way less useful and efficient and satisfying than even a gas station cig-alike. We're talking pre-Blu, pre-NJoy.
What the FDA is seeking to do will crush small businesses in every state, and with quiet ceremony and the most decadent bottle of champagne, the entire U.S. vaping industry will be offered on a silver platter to Big Tobacco. The legacy cigarette manufacturers will be the ones left standing with enough money to conduct the expensive tests and have products on the market. It's truly ironic that vaping has helped many smokers finally escape the grasping, choking hands of Big Tobacco only to be delivered back into them. The slippery slope here is that once ecigs are labeled as "tobacco products" the FDA can later very easily add other limitations. Flavors? That's just to snag the kids. Adults don't enjoy anything fruity or savory such as gum, candy, or dessert. Surely, all smokers couldn't resist cigarettes because of the taste. Tobacco or menthol may one day be your only "flavor" choices. How about ecigs only available with zero nicotine? That's really the harmful part of smoking, right?? It has happened in other countries, and it can happen here if we allow it.
So what does this do for the vaping industry? Mom-and-pop vape shops like every store on the #MSGulfCoast will be bullied out of business. One of the fastest growing sectors in our local (national & global as well) economy will cease to exist immediately. Most of our local shops have been able to create job opportunities. Owners and employees will instantly be unemployed when these regulations are effective. That's about 15 people suddenly without income at SmokeScreen alone.
The vaping community has a done an outstanding job of self-regulation. No reputable shops sell to minors. E-liquids are carefully and properly prepared. Questionable additives such as vitamins and caffeine are frowned upon. And the cornerstone of vaping has always been knowledge: collecting information and spreading education about products and safety and possibilities.
Ecigs are a perfect model for how markets should work when allowed to do so freely. Consumers have dictated the terms of the vaping industry. #Vapersdemand the best quality, the safest products, and set the prices. Tinkers develop new technology. We would even go so far as to say that vaping has sparked an interest in science (electronics and chemistry) that many people may not have considered prior to becoming vapers.
To summarize what someone wrote on the SO/SO Vapers page (sorry, I don't recall who): Facebook-ing is not participating. We must follow the process and actually participate in our government on this. We must try.
#FreetoVape has developed the simplest tool to ensure our comments get to the FDA in time. You have ONE MONTH left to let the FDA know what vaping has done for you and how the regulations will impact your life. Show the FDA that you've done your research. Please keep comments civil, honest, logical, and intelligent. This is our Prohibition. This is the process to fight it.
Participate. Be your government. That's what #IndependenceDay is all about.