Posted By Carter V on November 11, 2013
Manufacturers and advocates of electronic cigarettes assembled in the country’s capital to call on the lawmakers to work on a different ecig regulation framework. Earlier the FDA is said to have submitted its proposed regulations for electronic cigarettes wherein the emerging category would be inappropriately monitored as tobacco products.
Lack Of FDA Regulations
Right now, there is no ecig regulation that the FDA is enforcing or implementing. However, in its submitted proposal, it is believed that the new rule will define tobacco product in a different light so that electronic cigarettes would be included under the federal oversight of the agency.
The agency said that ecigs are devices that run on battery power in order to make vapors out of the nicotine and other chemicals in the e-liquid. This vapor is then inhaled by the user.
Once the proposal is approved, currently available products in the market, including the popular Blu Cigs from the tobacco firm Lorillard, Inc would need to obtain the FDA’s approval first before continuing to sell them in the market.
Different Kind Of Product
Tom Briant, the legal counsel and executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, stated that they view ecigs as new products. If there would be regulations, these need to be workable and reasonable and must acknowledge that ecigs are different from tobacco cigarettes and other tobacco products.
SFATA is one of the organizations for the ecig industry. It said that ecig regulation must be categorized distinctively from tobacco cigarettes.
According to SFATA’s executive director Cynthia Cabrera, they are advocating for specific and separate framework in monitoring these products. She added that when the Congress passed Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act back in 2009, there was no evidence on the intention of including ecigarettes in it. Adding the products within the bounds of this law is inappropriate.
By the end of 2013, analysts have projected that the revenue of the products would amount to $1.7-1.8 billion while cigarette sales remain unchanged and flat. According to Bonnie Herzog, analysts from Wells Fargo, ecig consumption can be expected and in 10 years, they can surpass cigarette sales.
The market now includes Big Tobacco companies: Altria, Reynolds American and Lorillard. Yet, small ecig businesses, said Cabrera, comprise 60% of the market and are driving technological advancements in vaping.
If stiffer regulations would be enforced, the innovation of these smaller companies would be quelled. Stifled innovations can cause a negative impact on the consumers and to the companies that are true innovators and embodiment of product innovation.
Cabrera added that only large companies, particularly Big Tobacco, can afford to finance extra costs and expenses that will be brought upon by tighter ecig rules. In essence, tighter regulations would only protect no other than the tobacco industry itself.
Altria, last month, has submitted a letter to FDA wherein it said that it supports regulation. Yet, it also asked that the agency practice more flexibility in policies. It defended that innovation is necessary for the ecig industry.
Regulatory Affairs Senior VP James Dillard of Altria stated that the agency must rebuff calls by some groups and individuals to implement tbacco regulations on the products. This approach will not reflect the potentials on tobacco harm reduction by lower risk goods. Inappropriate policies could impact the public as new products are prevented from developing and completely playing role on harm reduction.
Loss Of Jobs
Stricter and improper regulations on electronic cigarettes could also cause many people to lose their jobs. The uncertainty over this policy issue is already affecting small businesses like Purebacco that is based in Michigan. Its CEO Dan Walsh said that the company has been uncertain and apprehensive on its business expansion because of the impeding policies.
According to Cabrera, this company is contributing 18% of the employment rate in the county where it is located. If stricter rules are implemented, many people would lose their jobs as their employers might not afford financial implications of tighter rules or the company’s operation will be halted while awaiting FDA approval.