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Vaping Industry Reels As New FDA Regs Go Into Effect

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented tough new vaping regulations that go into effect on Monday, which could potentially be very harmful to the industry.

Vapers now need to be at least 18 years old to purchase products, the FDA has to approve any new product, and there will no longer be free samples of the juice given out to vapers who wish to try a flavor before they buy, reports USA Today Sunday.

“The bad news is that August 8th of this year marks the beginning of a two-year countdown to FDA prohibition of 99.9%+ of vapor products on the market,” American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley wrote in a press release. “If we do not succeed in changing the FDA’s arbitrary predicate date of February 15, 2007, the vapor industry will shrink to almost nothing beginning August 8, 2018.”

Previously, anyone who wanted to try a flavor before buying was able to sample for free. Under the new FDA rules, vape shops must now charge a fee for those samples.

Alex Clark, legislative coordinator for the Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association (CASAA), told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the amount charged for the samples will be up to the vape shops, who will determine how many puffs a certain amount of vape juice consumes, then pass that onto the consumer.

“99 percent of these companies can’t afford these new regulations,” Clarke said. “Any extra charge is a burden to sales.”

Clark also says that since we live in a largely “cashless society,” asking a vape shop to charge a penny — as some shops may do as a means of thumbing their nose at the FDA — or even a dollar, “doesn’t make any sense,” as vape shops will still have to pay a service fee from the credit card companies. Making it almost untenable to make such a small charge.

The regulations also mandate that any new vaping product must be FDA approved first. Something Clark says is a highly subjective process, and just because a company submits something for FDA approval, doesn’t guarantee the FDA will even look at it.

Clark says there is a silver lining though. “Anyone going into a vape shop today will be told they can’t have a free sample, which will open dialogue as to what people can do to fight back.”

He did say the industry is “supportive of prohibiting sales to anyone 18 and under.”

The vaping industry in America accounts for $3.5 billion in annual sales, Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association (AVA), told TheDCNF. Conley also says that AVA estimates between 8,000 and 12,000 small vaping businesses will be “crushed” by the new FDA regulations.

The Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association, the nations largest vapor trade organization, told TheDCNF that number is actually $5.4 billion.

He also says that 48 states already have laws on the books that ban vape shops from selling products to minors, and only Michigan and Pennsylvania lacked such a ban. Conley goes on to tell The DCNF Michigan tried to pass a ban on sales to minors in 2013, but The American Lung Association, American Heart Association and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network opposed that legislation and ultimately it was defeated.

The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association says the average vape shop makes $26,000 in monthly sales, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for new costs to be incurred.

A report published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website showed that vaping has helped decreased the smoking rates among 21 to 35 year-olds.

Anyone who is interested in pushing back on the new FDA regulations can visit August8th.org for information on what they can do.

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