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One Imminent FDA Regulation Could Wipe Out 10 Years Of E-Cigarette Innovation

(REUTERS/David Becker)

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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A regulation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could wipe out nearly a decade of progress for the e-cigarette industry and deprive smokers of a valuable alternative to tobacco.

The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) warns the FDA’s so-called “deeming” regs could destroy innovation in the e-cigarette industry and will do nothing to improve public health.

The FDA regulation, expected to be announced imminently, will require all e-cig products that came on the market since February of 2007 to undergo a Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) process that could cost millions of dollars.

Vaping businesses, which typically sell dozens if not hundreds of these products, will not be able to meet this financial burden. This means they will have to close their doors – destroying around 99 percent of the e-cigarette market and effectively prohibiting the majority of e-cigarette products, with the exception of those made by major tobacco companies.

“Despite an overabundance of distorted and misleading information propagated by some in the public health community, the science is clear – responsibly manufactured vapor products are not only a safer alternative to traditional combustible products but also provide smokers with a viable path to reducing their tobacco consumption and quitting altogether,” Tony Abboud, VTA’s National Legislative Director, said Thursday in a press release. (RELATED: Study: E-cigarettes Are 95 Percent Safer Than Tobacco)

“The FDA’s actions will not improve our nation’s public health objectives. To the contrary, they will yank responsibly manufactured vapor products from the hands of adult smokers and replace them with the cigarettes they had been trying to give up.”

Abboud went onto to emphasize the devastating consequence the FDA’s regulation would have business owners across the country and how it could end up benefitting larger tobacco companies that can afford to pay the agency’s regulatory burden.

“The FDA will kill nearly a decade of innovation in the vapor technology industry and the many thousands of small and mid-size businesses in communities across this country who have invested in establishing retail stores and developing new technologies that sit outside of the influence of Big Tobacco.”

“If enforced as drafted, the unreasonable and excessive regulations proposed by the FDA will only serve to put these innovators out of business, their employees out of work, and will hand deliver Big Tobacco a monopoly on vapor products.”

Abboud’s warning follows a note from Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog released Wednesday, which concluded that any stifling of e-cigarette innovation would be a bonus to established tobacco companies. (RELATED: Wells Fargo: FDA’s Anti-Ecig Regulation Will Be A Bonus For Big Tobacco)

“As a reminder, regulation of the ecig/vapor industry is broadly positive for the big tobacco manufacturers since it will increase the barriers to entry and likely entrench them even further,” said Herzog.

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