The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 is a bipartisan bill that was introduced to change the Food and Drug Administration rules that could put many vape shops out of business and leave e-cigarette users with few options for purchasing vaping products and supplies. The bill is supported by many organizations that have joined together and launched the Stop the Vape Ban Campaign.
The campaign was created to increase public awareness of the current situation involving the production and sale of e-cigarettes, vaporizers and related products. The FDA deeming rules will require testing of all e-liquid and other vaping products as well as FDA approval before being allowed on the market, beginning in August 2018. The biggest obstacle to manufacturers is the high cost of the tests, which is estimated to be at least $500,000 per product and possibly much higher. While critics say that the tests required are overzealous and unfairly single out e-liquid as potentially dangerous while most other products sold in the U.S. are not subject to such extreme safety measures, the FDA and supporters of the deeming rules say that vaping products must be kept out of the hands of young people and could prove to be dangerous at some point in the future.
The primary focus of the Stop the Vape Ban Campaign is to change one part of the deeming rules that has the potential to put many vape suppliers out of business and remove nearly all currently available vape products from the market. The rules grandfather in older vape products, allowing them to remain on the market without complying with testing; however, the date for the grandfather clause is 2007. This means that any vaping products manufactured since then will have to comply with the testing rules. There are very few vaping products on the market today that were made prior to 2007, therefore, nearly everything currently available will be gone by August 2018, unless manufacturers can afford to comply with the rules or the grandfather date is changed.
The primary goal of the campaign is to get the date changed to 2016. This would still put suppliers and manufacturers in a bind as to newer products, but at least current products and those only a few years old would be allowed to be sold and purchased by consumers.
The legislation to change the deeming rules was sponsored by Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole and Georgia Democrat Sanford Bishop, both members of the House of Representatives. Rep. Bishop has stated that he believes that vape products offer “a promising path for harm reduction” and should continue to be available.
Stop the Vape Ban has a website with instructions for contacting individual members of congress and the President of the United States to ask them to support the bill.