Could Trump Administration Save Vaping?
As confirmation hearings continue for the Trump administration cabinet positions, there is one name that means a lot to vapers: Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia.
Why is Price so important to the vape community? Because if confirmed, Price will become the Secretary of Health and Human Services. That means that he will have the platform and the influence to stall, or even repeal, the Food and Drug Administration’s overreaching regulations concerning vape products.
Reuters is reporting that the American vaping industry is hoping that the presidential transition and incoming Trump administration will be enough to make lawmakers think twice about these regulations.
The FDA regulations, which were put into effect August 16, 2016, create a standard for vape businesses, including setting an age restriction and requiring all ingredients to be listed. While these regulations have been lauded and accepted by businesses, there is a feeling that other regulations, such as the PMTAs for each individual product.
The PMTAs cost around $330,000 per application for each individual product. With experts estimating that companies will be required to file 20 applications for each product in the first two years, that means that the total cost might exceed $6 million. Most companies offer about a dozen vape liquids, meaning that the cost to stay in business for them would be close to $100 million dollars, money that small vape businesses just don’t have.
This is unfortunate, as vaping is fast becoming the first, best alternative to smoking.
While health advocates and anti-vaping supporters state that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, thereby rendering it void as a smoking cessation method, there is a lot of science that supports vaping. In fact, according to Britain’s Department of Health, known as Public Health England, released a study that proved that vape products were at least 95 percent less harmful than regular cigarettes.
Vaping is also good for the economy: since the industry was created in 2009, hundreds of small businesses have opened up around the country, leading to tens of thousands of jobs.
If the regulations stay in place, the vaping industry will virtually vanish. The only companies that can pay the PMTA application fees are the cigarette companies who are now creating their own vape products. All the small businesses that have been created would go into bankruptcy, leading to a rise in the unemployment rate and a loss of profit for state budgets.
But the push and pull between vape supporters and anti-vaping activists might end with a Trump administration. Earlier this week, a coalition of 13 organizations and groups wrote an open letter to Congress to push back the pre-dictate date from February of 2007 to August of 2016 in order to give the industry a chance to survive.
The CEI is reporting that the letter to Congress read, in part, that: “The FDA’s regulations threaten to kill an industry that has created tens of thousands of jobs by producing safer products that help many Americans quit smoking.”
Rep. Price will have this decision on his hands if and when he takes the role of Secretary of Health and Human Services. If he really wants to improve public health, then he will have to weigh whether or not vaping would be a good partner for that.
As Mitch Zeller, the Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said once: “If we could get all those people [who smoke] to completely switch all of their cigarettes to noncombustible cigarettes, it would be good for public health.”