Published on August 18th, 2016 | by Jimmy Hafrey
Things just keep getting worse for the vaping community.
Now that the deeming regulations have been put into place, many within the industry are learning how hard it’s going to be to push forward with their business. From banning “samples” to restricting what an owner can tell a potential consumer, the FDA has put its jaws around the vape industry and will not let go.
To hear the FDA tell it, though, the regulations are going to be a blessing on public health. Or, in the words of the director the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products, “This month, for the first time, FDA will be able to help protect the public, and especially kids, from the dangers of all tobacco products.”
Kids trying vaping was never really in question. This is because most companies within the vaping industry had strict rules of never selling to minors, something the FDA has made a federal law. And most vaping companies agree with this regulation.
However, as Jared Meyer over at Forbes pointed out this week, it is the complete batch of new regulations that are causing concern.
First and foremost is the actual classification of vaping products as tobacco products. It is now common knowledge that the only ingredient that tobacco and vaping products share in common is nicotine.
But not all vape products, closed-end or open-end, use nicotine. In fact, many e-liquids and vaporizers have the option to contain 0 percent nicotine. It’s also possible now to get vape liquids that use synthetic nicotine.
So why is the FDA regulating all vape products like they contain tobacco? That’s hard question to answer, and it’s one that the FDA has continued to avoid answering. For now, however, all vape products stand under the tobacco classification.
Even though vape products do not contain tobacco.
Another regulation bans the use of “samples.” For anyone who’s ever been in a brick-and-mortar vape shop, this sampling is done at the vape liquid bar. It’s one of the ways that vape shop owners allow people to test liquids prior to purchasing. It also ensures that people actually vape what they buy.
It’s an important step for any smoker, especially considering that smokers are more likely to switch to vaping should they find a flavor they like. No smoker, however, is going to go through two or three rounds of buying liquid they can’t sample, and they might just stick with smoking.
Along with banning sampling, vape shops are banned from repairing or helping consumers set up their vape devices. That means that whenever a vape device breaks, a consumer can’t get it fixed, leading many vapers to either buy only closed-end vape devices or forgo vaping altogether.
Vape shops also regularly help customers set up and understand the device. Now that they are no longer allowed to do that, vapers only have the internet to help them figure this out. And while many vape devices are quite easy to use, many can be difficult. This will lead to a decline in sales for open-ended vape devices.
But perhaps most important is the ban that the FDA is instituting concerning harm reduction statements. Under the law, no vape shop company or owner is allowed to make truthful statements regarding vaping as a safe alternative to smoking.
It is commonly thought that the idea of vaping as a smoke-free alternative has been the driving point behind the industry’s expansion in the last five years.
There are various studies, which we’ve covered before, that provide evidence of vaping’s benefits and advantages. While the research needed to fully understand the impact vaping has on public health is by no means finished, the majority of studies show that it is proving to be a beneficial smoking cessation tool.
To add to that, vaping is not actually smoking. We’ve previously discussed the fact that vaping is done by heating a liquid, while smoking is burning paper and tobacco leaves. So they are not actually the same. And vaping does not contain tar or the vast majority of carcinogens that are found in tobacco.
But vape shops won’t be able to tell their consumers about why or how vaping is superior to tobacco. The FDA has effectively tied their hands in that department.
These are the most immediate results of the FDA’s deeming regulations, but more are coming, such as the mandatory PMTAs that each product must be put through. This long and expensive process will help slow down the vaping industry, cutting out most small businesses and just leaving tobacco companies as the main vape purveyors.
But the immediate regulations might just kill the industry for good.
To learn more about the vaping regulations that will impact vape shops in your area, contact the FDA here.