Experts in the electronic cigarette industry are appealing to President Donald Trump to kill a Food and Drug Administration rule threatening to wipe out a majority of vape business across the U.S.
The FDA passed a rule finalized in May forcing e-cigarette vendors to submit a pre-market tobacco application for each of their products for approval, a costly process most vape vendors cannot afford. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Dec. 8 shredding vaping as an unhealthy practice and warned they pose a significant risk to youth. Localities are following with legislation regulating vaping the same way as traditional cigarettes, some slapping the industry with taxes as high as 40 percent.
Industry experts are appealing to Trump to fight the policy direction on vaping, arguing they benefit public health and aid smokers who are quitting.
“There’s a national drumbeat against electronic cigarettes, and the CDC is the leading champion for this demonization of a useful product,” Dr. Edward Anselm, senior fellow at the R Street Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There are many challenges associated with the CDC’s war on e-cigarettes, and I don’t think its wrong to talk about a war on e-cigarettes.”
Under the FDA rule, vendors and manufactures have until Aug. 8, 2018 to submit the applications for their products. Many are anticipating closure due to the application costs, which range from $100,000 to $400,000 dollars each. R Street Institute released a report of eight proposals Tuesday for the Trump administration to consider to reduce the harm of tobacco products and save the vaping industry.
Advocates of vaping argue the practice reduces harm for the user and eliminates the risks of second-hand smoke for people around them, something they say the government should promote, not limit. The United Kingdom actually promotes the sale of e-cigarettes as a health-conscious alternative to smoking. A study found nearly all of the 2.6 million e-cigarette users in the U.K. are former or current smokers — many of whom are using the device to quit. (RELATED: Vaping Activists Descend On State Capitol To Blast 40 Percent Tax)
“The vast majority of health harms attributed to smoking arise from burning tobacco cigarettes and inhaling the smoke into the lungs, not from nicotine use,” the report’s authors said in a statement. “Where there is no combustion – as with smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes and other vaping products or heated tobacco products – the risks of nicotine use inevitably will be much lower (representing from two percent to 10 percent of the risk of cigarettes) because the physical processes are so different.”
The authors suggest the Trump administration seize the moment to draw stark differences between combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes that health officials can use to guide tax and regulatory policy. A proper regulatory and tax structure will allow the government to place appropriate safety labels on vaping devices. They also argue standards must be set for manufacturing everything from the device to liquid nicotine, ensuring a safer consumer market for the products.
“None of these products are perfectly safe, as very little is, but they are very much safer,” said the authors in a statement. “These products with radically reduced risk create opportunities for major health and economic gains through substitution. However, U.S. policy has actively denied and stymied this opportunity.”
The industry will still face major opposition from health officials at the federal and state level, who argue the vapor exhaled by e-cigarette users is a threat to air quality and presents second-hand hazards to those exposed. Proponents of vaping argue critics are ignoring the positive impact the devices are having on public health.
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