Optimism is returning to the long beleaguered U.S. vaping industry now that federal health regulators have softened their stance towards alternative smoking technologies.
In a massive break with past policy, the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged July 28 the benefits alternative technologies like e-cigarettes offer smokers trying to quit the habit. The move appears to have quelled widespread fears among business owners regarding the financial sustainability of the vapor industry. Before the FDA shifted their stance, scores of vape retailers were anticipating bankruptcy or closure under the FDA’s costly deeming rule, reports Vaping Post.
E-Cig Intelligence, an analytics website tracking vaping trends, revealed Monday the results of a recent survey that found 77 percent of retailers felt optimistic about their financial futures following the FDA announcement, and 42 percent planned to expand their business.
“Before the FDA announcement in July, most vape stores had arrested any expansion plans and cut back on general spending; the survey shows that since the announcement, many retailers are planning the expansion of business or stock levels,” representatives at E-Cig Intelligence said in a press release to Vaping Post. “77 percent of retailers are feeling some industry optimism, an immediate 25 percent increase on responses received before the FDA decision; 50 percent of respondents are now looking to increase stock levels, and 42 percent plan to expand their operations.”
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb rescheduled the deadline to comply with the deeming rule from Aug. 8, 2018 to Aug. 8, 2022, giving the vaping industry some much needed breathing room. 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 for nearly every product they currently sell at a cost of $100,000 to $400,000 each.
Gottlieb wants to curb the U.S. smoking rate by encouraging the development of alternative technologies like electronic cigarettes. Gottlieb said Aug. 24 on CNBC it is important to maintain access to products for people hooked on nicotine that can help them avoid the large health consequences carried by cigarettes.
“We’ve opened up a pathway to new product innovations that we think can potentially provide nicotine to people who still want to enjoy satisfying levels of nicotine without the risk of lighting tobacco on fire,” Gottlieb told CNBC in August. “It’s not the nicotine that kills you, it’s all the other carcinogens in lighting tobacco on fire.”
Millions of Americans now rely on a vape product, with many using the device to quit smoking or reduce their daily intake of combustible cigarettes. A study from the University of California released July 26 showed that a record number of Americans are ditching cigarettes with the aid of vaping devices.
Researchers found that the rate of Americans quitting smoking jumped from 4.5 percent between 2010 and 2011 to 5.6 percent between 2014 and 2015. That means roughly 350,000 smokers gave up the habit between 2014 and 2015.
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