The country’s largest e-cigarette trade group is calling on the Senate Committee on Appropriations to amend an upcoming spending bill with language to save the industry from regulations that could destroy 99 percent of vaping businesses.
The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) said Monday it supports using language from Republican Rep. Tom Cole‘s H.R. 2058 bill that will change the Tobacco Control Act’s Feb. 15, 2007 grandfather date for e-cigarette products to the date of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final rule issuance.
If the FDA’s grandfather date remains unchanged, e-cigarette companies will have to undergo the costly Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) process for every vaping product released after Feb. 15, 2007. The FDA’s proposed rules are currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Reforming the FDA’s rule is of vital importance to the e-cigarette market because the cost of the PMTA process for each individual product can run between $2-10 million. Vaping businesses — which typically sell dozens if not hundreds of these products — will not be able meet this financial burden, putting thousands of jobs at risk and limiting options for vapers.
“Despite tremendous outreach in support of H.R. 2058, its’ passage is not guaranteed and because the FDA has said it lacks the legal authority to change the grandfather date, we are focusing our efforts on the Senate Appropriations Committee, urging members to consider the same language in the House’s Agriculture spending bill which funds the FDA,” says Cynthia Cabrera, president and executive director of SFATA.
“We’re asking Senate members to ‘recede’ to the House provision in final conference before any spending bills are sent to the president’s desk. The good news is that the approved House spending bill doesn’t cut the FDA’s budget, it just precludes them from using any of the funds to implement February 15, 2007 as the deeming date.” The spending bill needs to be passed by Dec. 11 to prevent a government shutdown.
The pro-vaping lobby has already gained a powerful ally in the form of Grover Norquist – president of Americans for Tax Reform. On Nov. 24, Norquist wrote a letter to members of Congress asking them to change the FDA’s grandfather date, warning that “unlike smokers, adult vapor product consumers are becoming single-issue voters who correctly attribute their switch from combustible tobacco products to smoke free alternatives like e-cigarettes to saving their lives. To crush this new and emerging industry would reverse decades of efforts to get people to quit smoking.”