Vapers Start Fighting Back Against The FDA
And now for something entirely different. There's a petition circulating on the website change.org whereby a Sacramento, California man is attempting to reach out to federal legislators to make a plea against the FDA's dreaded "deeming regulations" that, as written, promise to decimate the vaping industry in the near future.
"The Federal government and each state have spent hundreds of millions over decades attempting to discourage people from smoking cigarettes. We now have a viable alternative to tobacco products that could do just that, through tobacco harm reduction," writes Les Leung, an otherwise anonymous vaper who posted this testimonial to CASAA's website in 2013. "This life changing technology has the potential to accomplish what Tobacco Control has failed to do for the past fifty years, unless it is smothered in its infancy. vapor products, as a recreational consumer good, have the potential to replace combustible tobacco, keeping millions from potential tobacco related illnesses."
Les has a point, and it's one that's well-fortified by supporting data, as you'll find if you click the first link in this article.
"The classification of vapor products as tobacco products is tenuous at best. While some vapor products do contain nicotine, many do not, and this is where the link to tobacco ends," Leung continues. "Vapor products are not tobacco products, they are a safer alternative to tobacco products which may or may not contain nicotine. Vapor products are also a driving force behind thousands of small and medium businesses across the country, creating jobs and feeding the economy, many of which will not survive the exorbitant fee structure of tobacco product approval that has kept the cigarette market in the hands of only the major tobacco companies."
Leung argues that blocking the FDA regulations from taking effect would provide a variety of benefits to public health. He argues that:
"By rejecting the classification of vapor products as tobacco products we can:
1 Protect access to flavors, which are an integral part of the vapor experience.6
2 Protect access to online sales that allow consumers to procure the equipment and e-liquids that are best suited for their needs.
3 Protect access to all nicotine concentrations, which allow the consumer to tailor their experience to their needs which could range from higher concentrations to aid in transitioning from smoking to nicotine free for enjoyment and maintenance.
4 Protect access to open, reusable container systems that are more cost effective and environmentally friendly.
5 Allow for the continued innovation and refinement of products currently on the market."
All valid points – and we've got to admit the environmentally-friendly nature of open (refillable) systems versus closed (disposable pods, found in cigalikes produced by Big Tobacco and a few recent independent upstarts) is an argument we hadn't considered. But it's a valid one nonetheless.
"The best way to protect this life altering technology is to not place it under the auspices of the FSPTCA [the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, which provides the FDA its current authority], by not deeming vapor products as tobacco products," Leung concludes.
We wholeheartedly agree.
As of early Monday morning (April 24), Leung's petition had attracted more than 60,000 signatures on change.org, though it's taken better than two years to reach that mark. We, as a vaping community, have to do better.
One route? The Obama administration rolled out a new petition structure under its tenure, promising an official response from the White House to any petition that garnered more than 100,000 unique signatures in a 30-day span. With the proper exposure we believe a new petition drive could certainly get through to what's widely perceived as a sympathetic Trump administration. There's no promise, though, that the current administration intends to stick with this "100,000 interested citizens equal an official response" policy, however – all of the latest petitions to pass the threshold seem to be focused on Trump's personal tax returns, calls on his office to distance itself from financial conflicts of interest, and other actions the Oval Office generally considers unpalatable.
We'll keep you posted, though – and if you decide to launch a petition of your own, let us know!