Duncan Hunter, The Republican representative for California, has sent a letter to the White House urging the Trump administration to either suspend or repeal FDA regulations due to come into force in August 2018.
The legislation, proposed by the US’s Food & Drug Administration, would include smoking cessation devices in the same category as traditional cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Rep. Hunter has continued to push for its dismissal, after taking the floor in the Senate to demonstrate the use of an e-cigarette.
With the proliferation of independent vape shops across the US – which brought in an estimated $3.7 billion last year alone – many within the industry believe that the introduction of these new regulations will sound the death knell for the majority of small business owners.
The planned legislation would introduce fees for the testing of new vaping products before they hit the market, fees that are radically unaffordable to all but the biggest players in the industry such as British American Tobacco, Reynolds, and Philip Morris International. Industry insiders believe the decision has been motivated by lobbyists in an effort to monopolise the market, forcing out smaller independent businesses.
The vaping industry needs ‘time to mature’
Hunter has asked Trump to push back the deadline for the introduction of the regulations to August 2020, giving the industry time to grow and mature. The new administration has already stated that alongside the abolishment of the Affordable Care Act, he aims to ‘modernise’ and restructure the FDA to help patients gain better access to newer innovative treatments.
The FDA, is no stranger to controversy, having been accused of driving up drug prices in the past with overreaching market approval practices; covering up the exportation of known unsafe products; censoring the labelling of consumable produce; allowing companies to influence their decision regarding the use of known unsafe additives; and processing technologies in food production.
But with a growing number of vapers across the country, the impending regulations are likely to be hit with a wave of dissent by many Americans who are attempting to quit traditional cigarettes.
While there is hope that Trump will keep his word regarding the restructuring of the FDA, in the short term many feel that the new President will be slow to react.
With the continued worldwide protests against his immigration ban and his upcoming executive order repealing the rights of LGBT people in regards to employment discrimination and Planned Parenthood, the vaping industry can only hope that he will ultimately move away from these hateful, divisive and unwelcome ideals, and start making decisions that benefit the people, as opposed to removing their rights.