Business owners and vaping advocates are celebrating a surprise decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to delay a costly action that threatens the industry’s existence.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Friday that they are pushing off the deadline to comply with the FDA’s contentious “deeming rule” from Aug. 8 2018 to Aug. 8 2022. The decision gives the vaping industry, which faces a constant barrage of taxes and restrictions across the country, some much needed breathing room.
Gottlieb stressed that the FDA wants to encourage the “development of innovative tobacco products that may be less dangerous than cigarettes,” as part of a larger strategy to reduce smoking rates in the U.S. The FDA will also attempt to reduce the levels of nicotine allowed in traditional cigarette products.
“This is great news for vapers who will no longer face losing products that have kept them off cigarettes; and for the thousands of family run businesses that make up the vaping industry,” Peter Beckett, director at the online e-cigarette vendor Vaping.com, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “FDA has finally recognized that the problem is cigarettes, and we’re delighted to see them focus on the problem rather than the solution.”
The announcement Friday sent stock prices plummeting for the major tobacco companies. U.S. Marlboro manufacturer Altria Group Inc. and British American Tobacco shares experienced their largest single day decline since 2008, according to Bloomberg.
The FDA did not established a timeline Friday for their stated goal of reducing nicotine to “non-addictive levels” in cigarettes.
The report still makes it clear the FDA plans to greatly scrutinize the vaping industry. Officials will investigate the effects flavored vaping products have on children and young adults to see if they are creating unnecessary risks. Former smokers note that flavored vaping products are key to quitting, because they help the user disassociate from the taste of tobacco.
While vaping advocates agree that a delay of the “deeming rule” is welcome news, they note that the FDA must ultimately overhaul the policy if the industry is going to survive in the future.
“The grandfather date stays the same, and we still cannot launch new products or improve on existing ones to keep up with advances in technology,” Patricia Kovacevic, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Nicopure Labs LLC, told TheDCNF. “So, while grateful, much more needs to be done and the entire regulatory framework needs to be reevaluated and changed.”
The FDA “deeming rule” requires businesses to retroactively submit each individual product to the FDA for approval before it can be sold. Businesses will have to file applications, which range in cost from $100,000 to $400,000 dollars each, for nearly every product they sell.
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