If you had doubts about the proposed new vaping rules in the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill — now working its way through the House committee process — take some comfort knowing that vaping’s biggest enemy doesn’t like it one bit. Maybe that’s a good sign.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), issued a press release Wednesday, opposing the ag bill’s vaping and cigar components, especially the change of the predicate (or grandfather) date in the FDA’s deeming regulations.
Despite Myers’ opposition, and an attempt by Democratic Rep, Nita Lowey of New York to defend the deeming predicate date, the Appropriations Committee approved inclusion of the vaping language in the bill. The committee voted against Lowey’s pro-deeming amendment 30-22.
The language in the ag bill also directs the FDA to create standards for “characterizing flavors” and batteries. Myers correctly points out that the FDA already has the power to regulate flavors anyway, and goes on to decry the change in the predicate date, which will allow all vaping products that were on the market as of August 8, 2016, to remain without going through the impossible premarket tobacco application (PMTA) process.
“The FDA already has the authority under current law to issue such a product standard, so this provision does not provide the FDA with any new authority,” says Myers. “Such a product standard does not offset the damage caused by stripping the FDA of its authority to review products now on the market and remove those products that blatantly appeal to kids or pose other serious health risks.”
Myers goes on to say several times that the tobacco industry is behind all opposition to the deeming rule. “These provisions are part of the tobacco industry’s multi-front attack on the FDA’s 2016 rule establishing public health oversight of e-cigarettes, cigars and other previously unregulated tobacco products. Tobacco interests have also filed several lawsuits against the rule and urged the Trump administration to roll it back.”
He knows very well that most of those efforts were initiated by the independent vaping industry. But it suits his purposes to tie vaping to the cigarette industry, so he doesn’t miss a chance. Of course, it was Myers himself who wrote the Tobacco Control Act, along with attorneys from Philip Morris (now Altria).
Matthew Myers worked hard to create regulatory advantages for the big tobacco companies — maybe to give himself a permanent bogeyman to demonize — and he’s not interested in letting a bunch of ex-smokers horn in on the party. It was just a couple months ago that he stood at the E-Cig Summit in Washington, D.C., and told the audience that the deeming rule is a wonderful thing. Myers really doesn’t want to see that deeming predicate date changed.