According to a new report by Reuters, lobbyists for the vaping industry in the US are looking to the Trump administration to backtrack the regulations placed on the sale of e-cigarettes and their associated products last year.
Despite Trump’s plan to kill the universal healthcare system introduced during Obama’s presidency, the benefits of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices are hard to ignore. And with the huge increase in taxable profits created since the industry established itself in 2009, small business owners are hoping that the withdrawal of the current legislation will help them to compete with larger multi-national companies such as British American Tobacco, Reynolds and Philip Morris International.
Since the FDA were given the right to regulate the vaping industry in 2009, many in favour of e-cigarettes found themselves confounded as the products were ‘bundled’ alongside other tobacco products such as pipes, cigars and hookahs – despite their effectiveness in helping those who wished to quit smoking.
The new regulations that came into force in August 2016 have been accused of giving wealthier companies a monopoly over the industry. For many smaller companies, the $330,000 charge to test each new product before it hits the market would be impossible to finance. Even more devastating is the fact that the 20 applications experts believe each company would have to file in the first two years alone would cost over $6 million.
Luckily, after being nominated as the US Secretary of Health and Human Services by the new president, Republican Tom Price may be willing to re-analyse the regulations.
Potential mutual benefits for the Trump administration
If campaigners are successful, the legislation could find itself suspended, or simply withdrawn entirely – a victory for the small business owner.
Considering the new research carried out by various scientific institutions around the world over the last 12 months, many within the industry believe that those who control the legislation are more than aware of the health benefits of vaping. However, campaigners believe that the FDA are being pressured by Big Tobacco lobbyists to create a system within which only the wealthiest companies can afford to profit.
For Trump, aiding the vaping industry could be a saving grace. With a growing number of smokers switching to vape devices, the pressure on the healthcare system would likely be eased. The move would also allow the thousands of workers who have found moral and dependable employment within independent vape shops to stay in work and keep unemployment levels low – a key pledge during Trump’s presidential campaign.
If accepted to the new position within Trump’s administration, Price – a conservative politician from Georgia who previously voted against the FDA’s plans to regulate tobacco as a drug – could find himself at the epicentre of the vape community’s campaign over the next few months.
And for many, including Michael Hogan, a lobbyist who represents the vaping industry at the Alpine Group, this opportunity can’t come soon enough. He said: “There is a much higher level of hope and a general belief that a new administration would be willing to take a new look and consider a harm reduction rather than abstinence only approach to nicotine.”