Support from politicians for vaping products is gaining momentum with both H.R. 2058, introduced in April of 2015 by Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), and the Cole-Bishop Amendment. Representative Cole's H.R. 2058 would amend the "Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act" and revise "premarket review and reporting requirements" for anything the Food and Drug Administration deems to be tobacco product. Also gaining support is the Cole-Bishop amendment, that would amend the February 15, 2007 "grandfather date" for currently unregulated tobacco product categories, including nicotine-containing electronic vaping devices and the "e-liquid" used in them.

Congressman Tom Cole took an opportunity to discuss both H.R. 2058 and the Cole-Bishop Amendment with Sean Gore, former executive director of the Oklahoma Vaping Advocacy League (OVAL) and Alex Clark, legislative coordinator for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA). Also present were trade group representatives from the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA) and the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA). Groups are advising their members to call and meet with their politicians. There are now 58 total co-sponsors for H.R. 2058.

FDA ignores Government Affairs Committee

Ronald Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sent the FDA a request to answer just a few questions concerning the deeming rules set for August 8th.

Here are two of those mentioned in the letter to the FDA:

  • Will the FDA issue a revised rule if there is sufficient data that finds that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes? Please explain.
  • How is the FDA’s regulation of e-cigarettes not a premature restriction on an industry given the FDA’s admission that it does not have “sufficient data” about e-cigarettes to determine the effects onthe public’s health?

The letter expressed the need for answers to be returned no later than May 31.

The FDA failed to respond to the affairs committee in a timely manner, and no response has been recorded at this time.

A less harmful alternative

With the drastically falling sales of cigarettes, and the CDC saying only 15% of the population are still smokers, the public should be looking at anyone who have deterred smokers from trying e-cigarettes.

Consumers using these products have chosen to reduce or stop their smoking by switching to these products. They have been estimated to be 95% less harmful by both the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England. The decision by the FDA to "deem" nicotine as tobacco may deter a safer choice to those who might try them if they knew all the facts.

What the rule may mean

While "approved" methods like the patch and gum are exempt from the rule, the current and future consumer are faced with e-cigarettes being taxed as tobacco, paying tobacco surcharges for insurance and possibly being disqualified for employment. Joining consumer organizations is one way to stay informed, talking with politicians is a way to have their voices heard by those who need to hear it most. Who knew quitting smoking with e-cigarettes would involve politics. In America, H.R. 2058 and the Cole-Bishop amendment are just part of the political fight to choose to stay smoke-free.