The day the vape stood still
This is it. August 8th. The end of the golden age of vaping. From today, what you see is all you get. No more innovation, no new products. Vape is fossilized.
Since I set E-Cigarette-Forum up in 2007, vaping has become a global phenomenon, releasing many from the grip smoking. Sadly, vaping has also become the subject of moral panic. The dominant narrative has become: “vaping is an evil plot to hook teenagers on nicotine”.
Most troublingly, smokers are not taken seriously. They are viewed as carriers of disease and excluded from the debate over their own health.
America is about to become more draconian than Europe in its treatment of vaping products.
But there are reasons to be cheerful. These regulations could have come out two years ago when they were first proposed. Instead, the intervening years have seen vast improvements in products available to vapers, and many of these products will be available for the next two years at least.
Maybe more importantly, though, is the huge social change that has occurred among smokers. Now, we have an educated population of vapers (and smokers) who understand that it’s not nicotine that kills.
Don’t underestimate the value of this. In just 9 short years, a huge change has occurred: one that can empower smokers as they seek new ways of consuming nicotine.
That said, it’s likely many good companies will fall by the wayside over the next couple of years – the victims of badly designed regulation.
If Congress or the Court system does not intervene over the next two years, here’s what happens:
No new products may be introduced to the market after today unless they are approved by the FDA. This includes stores mixing liquids in-house for customers’ personal taste preferences.
Shops must ID anyone who appears under 27 and, most irritatingly, may not assist with anything that could be construed as modifying a product. This means that while they may be able to offer advice and guidance for coil builds and so forth, staff can’t actually do anything for the customer.
It’s going to be tough for shop staff over the next few weeks as they explain to their customers that they cannot help them in the way they used to. Hopefully, vapers will realise that this is something totally beyond the control of shop staff.
By December 31, anyone who imports vaping products, who makes eliquid domestically or who brings products to market in the United States needs to register as a tobacco manufacturer.
The first big crunch comes in February next year, when domestic manufacturers must list their products and all constituents with the FDA. For liquid manufacturers, this could be a problem. The industry uses multiple “flavoring houses” for their products, and some of these businesses may simply refuse to disclose the ingredients to their clients. There is a system for maintaining the trade secrets flavor makers are trying to protect and many of the flavor houses have promised to go down this route.
Even so, it’s completely unknown how many, and therefore how many eliquid brands will be unable to comply. Non-compliance will mean no more sale.
Those who get past February have around 18 months then to file a PMTA. If no PMTA is filed, then products will have to come off the market on 8/8/2018. I fully expect a few forward thinking companies to attempt this. Many are personally known to me, and are already setting aside the resources. But the vast majority will simply say: “no, can’t do it” and shut up shop.
It doesn’t need to be like this. An amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations bill, sponsored by House Representatives Tom Cole and Sanford Bishop, could move the predicate date and mean that everything sold up to today will remain available. You can help by taking part in the #wearevapor campaign and tweeting your Congressional representatives.
Our team has been in this industry for a decade, and we’ve seen it evolve into what it is today. We don’t want to give it up without a fight.