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Op-ed Placement

The FDA’s Looming Regulatory Onslaught Threatens the Freedom to Vape

11/25/2015
Originally Published in Ricochet on 11/25/15.

Americans who are trying to kick their nasty smoking habit have found healthier alternatives in e-cigarettes and vapor products that could, quite literally, save their lives. But the bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration are trying to put this $3.5 billion industry out of business.

Small mom-and-pop shops have sprung up across the country to meet the growing demand for vapor products, which allow users to refill their vaporizers with their favorite e-juices. Separately, big tobacco companies have invested in non-refillable e-cigarettes.

Though these products are not always tobacco-free; there’s no ash or smoke involved. But they do contain nicotine, which users can gradually reduce if they choose. E-cigarettes and vapor products contain far fewer chemicals and carcinogens than traditional tobacco cigarettes, making them safer for the users, as well as those around them. “[T]he levels of potentially problematic substances in e-cigarette aerosol,” Reason’s Jacob Sullum wrote in March, “are about the same as those detected in ambient air.”

Bureaucrats, who believe they know what’s best for Americans, are concerned the perceived dangers of this new trend and are poised to issue a rule that would require makers of these products to go through a costly regulatory process. Products on the market before February 2007 would be exempt from the rule, but any available after the “grandfathered” date would be subject to review.

Big tobacco companies that produce e-cigarettes would be able to absorb the regulatory costs, but producers of vapor products simply likely won’t be able to afford to comply. “[T]he FDA’s proposed regulations threaten to ban 99 percent-plus of vape products currently available on the market,” American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley said in June. One e-juice maker told the Wall Street Journal, “We call it vapocalypse.”