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FDA Sued Over Their Decision To Delay Deeming Rules FDA Sued Over Their Decision To Delay Deeming Rules

A group of anti-vaping groups and doctors are pushing for the original deadline of August 8th, 2018 to be reinstated

When the FDA announced they’d be delaying their deeming rules until 2022, it was met with praise across the vaping industry. The original deadline was set for August 8th of this year, and it would have required that all devices already on the market submit a Pre-Market Tobacco Application. While the vaping industry applauded the delay, many other health agencies and officials claimed that this move was a mistake, arguing it’ll only lead to more teens picking up the habit.

While these claims have been mostly met with little action, a group of determined organizations and doctors have banded together to sue the FDA into reinstating the original deadline. The only problem is that the deeming rules were initially delayed for a good reason that is still very much in play. Namely that such a drastic move so quickly would not only cripple the entire independent vaping industry in America but also create a clear opening for Big Tobacco to swoop in and take control of the industry that was invented to stop it.

Disaster For Vaping Industry

The group that is suing the FDA includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Truth Initiative, among others. They claim that the four-year postponement constitutes a breach of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. But what they don’t make any mention of is how the vast majority of the Deeming Rules have already taken effect, and that the postponement only applied to the deadline for grandfathered products to submit their Pre-Market Tobacco Application.

But if you read the documents submitted by the plaintiffs, you’d assume that the delay is ultimately allowing a plethora of dangerous products to be on the market. Products that supposedly only serve to attract children into a bad habit. “The need for the FDA to review e-cigarettes now on the market has been underscored by the recent surge in popularity of JUUL, which has become the best-selling e-cigarette brand and is reported to be widely used by teens.”

These concerns would indeed be frightening, that is if they were actually true. The fact is that research shows the vast majority of teenage vapers had previously been smokers, poking a massive hole in the lawsuit’s argument. But if this lawsuit is successful in reinstating the rapidly approaching original deadline, it will do a lot more than merely make business harder for vaping companies. It’ll give a significant leg up to Big Tobacco companies who have the funds and experience to deal with this kind of red tape deftly.

Benefit To Big Tobacco

It’s no secret that Big Tobacco has had to deal with a lot of increased regulations and fees over the last 30 years. But over that time they’ve learned to use their vast pockets and access to world-class lawyers to make things easier for themselves, which in turn leads to tighter regulations. This is entirely fair for companies who have made a fortune by willfully selling toxic products to their customers. In fact, these regulations are some of the only things that have helped slow smoking-related death and disease rates. But when these harsh regulations are applied to vaping, only because of the regular presence of nicotine, something is very wrong. Especially when you consider that large portions of the vaping industry are made up of independently owned companies, applying the same regulations that Big Tobacco faces seem inherently flawed.

First of all, these vaping companies are nowhere near large enough to survive harsh regulations, let alone flourish while still meeting standards. If purposefully undermining a growing sector of small businesses wasn’t bad enough, the real issue comes into play after most vaping companies are forced to fold. If the deeming rules are pushed through, it will spell the end of the independent vaping industry. It’ll be replaced by smokeless products created by Big Tobacco companies like Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco. These companies have already acknowledged that traditional smoking is a dying habit, and started their pushes into the vaping market. The only thing currently preventing PMI and others from taking over the very industry created to destroy them is the strength of the independent vaping industry.

Implications

When the deeming rules first got postponed, many in the vaping industry saw it as a stay of execution. Indeed, many companies fully admit that they’d be unable to continue business as usual if they were forced to adhere to the same standards that multinational Big Tobacco companies do. Now it seems that this extra time is threatened, and as a result, companies may ultimately have far less time to get things in order before the August deadline. But this would be foolish. Not only will it create an almost insurmountable situation for the majority of independent vaping businesses, but it’ll also usher in a new era of Big Tobacco dominance, this time over the vaping industry. But why should we allow the very companies who are responsible for billions of deaths to transition smoothly into the smoke-free future? If we value hard-working small businesses more than we value companies who have lied to the public time and time again, we won’t allow vaping and smoking to be regulated under the same set of rules.

Do you think that regulating vaping companies the same as big tobacco is fair? How can we gain support for the idea that vaping and smoking are separate and should be regulated as such? Why do you think that it’s so easy for vaping to be associated with smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.

Dustin Erickson

Dustin Erickson - ECR.net Editor

Dustin can lay claim as one the first e-cigarette reviewers on the internet. Back in the summer of 2009 he set out on a mission to spread the word about e-cigs with this very site. Nearly 2.5 Million visitors, 1,700 Reviews collected and 5 years later, he’s still as passionate as ever and one of the leading Vaping advocates online.