Written by: Joan Campbell
The innovation of e-cigarettes and vapor products, has contributed significantly to smoking and its related effects, over the past 10 years. However, there has been an abundance of misleading and distorted information spread by public health community. What they fail to inform the public is that vapor products that are responsibly manufactured, provide smokers with a viable means of reducing consumption of tobacco, as well as quitting altogether.
What are the Consequences?
The sweeping new rules issued by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), are impossible to work with any business. Since the introduction of e-cigarettes about ten years ago, they have been able to deliver nicotine to consumers, without the harmful chemicals and tar, which normally cause cancer. More than nine million Americans are already using vapor products and e-cigarettes. They are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, thus their increased popularity.
The new rules took effect on 8th August 2016. They come with broad complications for the tobacco industry and public health. For the first time, producers of vapor products will be subjected to regulation, which require them to first register with the FDA, providing a detailed description of their products and the ingredients used, as well as the manufacturing process. Additionally, producers will have to obtain a permit, in order to sell their products. This move was applauded by experts in the health industry, with the view that the industry needed to be regulated. However, that move was not lightly received by those in the vaping industry.
This is a very unfair move to the producers of e-cigarrettes, since the rules group them together with the more harmful conventional cigarettes. If you are a consumer of e-cigarettes, then your choice of legal products will be reduced almost to zero. This means that you will have very few choices, rather than consume cigarettes, which are more harmful and even expensive in the long term.
As the rule stands, the vaping market has been completely frozen. This means that the sale or production of new products has been banned, unless you have FDA approval. Apart from that, vendors are required to file their tobacco applications two years in advance. To make the matters worse, each application is estimated at several million dollars and you are not even sure whether it will be accepted by the FDA.
These requirements are extreme, hurting both the consumer and manufacturer of vaping products. Manufacturers have to prove to the FDA, that their products have benefits to the public health, which only makes the matter worse. In short, small players in the industry, who don’t have several million dollars to play around with, have been run out of the market. This means that the future of vapor products and e-cigarretes, has been placed directly in the hands of some of the largest cigarettes companies in the world. This translates to unfair competition, as well as very serious public health consequences.
Within the next three years, responsibly manufactured e-cigarettes and vapor products will be denied to adult smokers. Additionally, they will be replaced with conventional cigarettes, which many adults have struggled to quit for many years. In short, these regulations will only help cigarette companies with more profits, while denying the ordinary citizen the opportunity to quit smoking responsibly.
FDA targets to wipe out vapor products from circulation, within a period of two years. Such policies are stupid, since they are not in contributing to the good will of the public, who have been struggling to quit smoking. Furthermore, according to the regulations released by the FDA, every technology company producing vapor products is forbidden from changing or offering innovations in their products.
What the FDA should know is that innovations occur faster than government regulations. An innovation is enough to render a certain law obsolete, since the components of the product are not the same. For example, it took a very short period to move from the iPod to the iPod. Therefore, new devices are able to render old ones obsolete within a very short time. The same thing will happen to vapors. Within a short time, innovations will happen in the vapor industry, which will render these regulations obsolete.
As it stands, the law does not permit any single change, in any component of the e-cigarettes or vapors, without requiring the multi-year approval process of FDA. This approval process is both bureaucratic and time consuming. It is simply bad for business. In short, regardless of how innovative a product is in terms of consumer safety, product safety or even public safety, that safety innovation will be considered last while keeping harmful cigarettes in the market.
What the FDA has managed to do is banning innovation, as well as keeping potentially harmful products in the market. This means that, for the next three years, consumers will have to rely on products deemed harmful by the FDA, without providing an alternative. On the other hand, any attempts to make the products safe are prohibited. People who oppose vapor products ignore the increasing number of research, which proves that vapor products are the safest means of quitting smoking responsibly.
According to the Royal College of Physicians, vapor products provide a huge advancement when it comes to harm reduction. Additionally, this body of research suggests that adult smokers have been deprived of an alternative and responsible means of quitting smoking. The report goes to conclude that the health risks associated with vapors are 95% smaller, compared to smoking actual cigarettes.
FDA is using these regulations, in the pretext of protecting children and minors, against irresponsible smoking behavior. They should instead of banning pharma products like gum and patches which are dangerous and addictive.
If these laws remain in place, cigarettes, which are some of the most dangerous consumer products, will remain freely in the market while being protected from competition. This leaves adult smokers who want to quit smoking, with only two options. One, they either buy ineffective products from the same companies that produce the killer cigarettes or use black market products, whose legitimacy and safety is not proven. With the difficulties posed by the two alternatives, many will just opt to continue smoking. The result will be huge public health burden, as well as loss of lives from cancer and other smoking related illnesses.