Tobacco Companies Push For Easing E-Cigarette Regulations

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Philip Morris International is petitioning governments around the world to ease regulations on e-cigarettes in an effort to promote smokeless tobacco.

The tobacco behemoth argues regulating electronic products the same way as cigarettes runs counter to the global public health push to reduce the use of cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule in May forcing all vape products to be regulated the same way as cigarettes and it’s threatening the domestic market.

Philip Morris wants governments to avoid such action so the e-cigarette market can thrive, and eventually overtake cigarettes, reports Stuff.

“We envision a smoke-free world in where a broad range of safer alternatives to cigarettes fully satisfies the continuing demand for tobacco and nicotine products,” read a statement from Philip Morris. “We are keen that e-cigarettes should be at least as available as cigarettes are, but we suggest that they should be regulated differently from cigarettes in order to encourage smokers to switch to them.”

With tobacco suffering global sales declines, companies like Philip Morris have pivoted to smoking alternatives for new revenue streams. Industry experts say these companies are attempting a branding shift towards nicotine products and away from tobacco.

The recent FDA decision is making that shift difficult in the U.S. however, where many local vape vendors are anticipating closure within the next two years. Shops and manufacturers across the U.S. will have to submit a Pre-market Tobacco Application to the FDA for every single product sold. Vendors and manufactures have until Aug. 8 2018 to submit the applications, which range in cost from $100,000 to $400,000 dollars each, reports KFDA.

“What that means is, unless something changes with those regulations that are in affect now, on Aug. 8, 2018 this shop and 14,000 other shops across the U.S. will be closed because of the regulatory process that they have set up,” Frank Blankenship, co-owner of Lucky Ruckus Vape Shop, told KFDA. “Nobody is advocating for zero regulation. What we want is reasonable regulation and those regulations should be regulations that don’t prevent adults from accessing vaping products.”

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