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How Consumers May Be Affected by FDA Regulations of E-Cigs

Posted by on May 23, 2014 . 0 Comments.

As an e-cigarette user, you have likely heard of the lengthy FDA document issued in recent weeks that seeks to regulate e-cigarettes. If you take time to think about how you need to voice your opinions, and why your opinions matter, you can play a part in the final outcome regarding the healthy use of e-cigarettes to help individuals quit tobacco.

First of all, it’s important to realize that the FDA’s monitoring of e-cigarette manufacturing and product safety may have some positive aspects. The FDA is recognizing the importance of what e-cigs have to offer in terms of long-term benefits. The agency is simply cautioning everyone to stop and think: Don’t we all want e-cigs made by credible manufacturers? Don’t we all need to make sure they are safe for users and others around them?

As the public gradually learns just how beneficial e-cigs are, it’s tough for e-cig consumers to wait for others to move through the learning curve. Those who have used e-cigs successfully feel nervous about what’s to come. They worry that large corporations may dictate fewer vaping choices and higher prices.

E-cig consumers need to voice their opinions in at least these three ways to the FDA:

·      The value of having many choices of devices and flavorings

·      The value of having a variety of companies and manufacturers to choose from—not just large companies that hold a monopoly on what consumers can obtain

·      The specific value of e-cigarettes—meaning how they’ve helped individuals resist traditional cigarettes and improve their overall health

The good news is this: Those e-cigarettes manufactured in pharmaceutical-grade laboratories with lots of research and development behind them will be looked upon favorably in the overall process of things. The bad news is: The availability of certain products might grow less, if consumers don’t speak up loud and clear to those decision-makers who will vote to enact FDA regulations about e-cigs.

The Landscape Ahead

The FDA took approximately three years to develop its lengthy document that could impact the e-cigarette industry in these ways:

·      Expensive filing fees required from manufacturers will likely eradicate all but major corporations in the industry

·      Consumers may find that flavorings will be limited to just a few, due to the concerns of the FDA that every product ingested (vaped) must be carefully reviewed by the FDA

·      Consumers may find that actual vaping devices will be limited in size and scope

What’s interesting to note is this: consumers report that using a vaping device that’s small, close to the size of a regular cigarette, often makes them crave traditional cigarettes. It makes sense that vaping a device very close in size, shape, and weight to a cigarette will conjure up the pleasures of smoking tobacco.

So, it’s important that manufacturers can offer different styles and sizes of devices—simply because they work to help people kick the habit of tobacco. To break an old habit, it helps to have a device with a slightly different look and feel.

Again, it’s all about having many choices—for both the vaping devices and the flavorings. E-cig users report these choices keep them happy and away from traditional cigarettes. Stiff regulations could place e-cigarettes into a governed process that essentially wipes out the good that e-cigs have already brought.

Those seeking large profits, without taking time to reflect on consumer needs, may inadvertently derail the health and wellness benefits of e-cigs that are already known by successful e-cig users. In fact, some physician groups are actively advocating that smokers try e-cigs to kick tobacco. The bottom line is: e-cigs do work.

Working in conjunction with CASAA’s directives, your voice will matter to those in charge of passing laws regarding e-cig regulations. CASSA stands for Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association. 

This link will take you to the CASAA page to document your comments and concerns regarding the FDA regulation proposal:

http://blog.casaa.org/2014/05/first-call-to-action-for-fda-proposed.html

First though, be sure to fully read and understand the “action plan” that has been devised by CASAA at this link:

http://blog.casaa.org/2014/05/overview-of-casaas-action-plan.html

Keep in mind that following an organized method to address issues with local and federal legislators works best. CASAA says that the first order of business is to ask for an extension of the deadline to voice opinions. Moving step by step is critical.

The Power of Your Voice

When you write your opinions for submission, keep them succinct and to the point. Remember to state specifically what you want lawmakers to understand, but tell why your opinions are valid.

Write with simplicity and clarity, and use respectful language, so authority figures may read and consider what you have to say. Give clear examples of your reduction in smoking cigarettes, for example. State how long you’ve been free of smoking and why e-cigarettes helped. Tell why having many choices regarding products to buy helps you maintain a smoke-free program as well.

By letting your federal representatives know your feelings—and why e-cigs have worked for you—you can impact the final outcome of the FDA regulations proposed in the document. Don’t let too much time go by, because the FDA has stated only 75 days are provided for people to voice their opinions.  CASAA is working to gain an extension of time that will equal 180 days, but there are no guarantees. File your opinions as soon as possible to help make an impact.

It also helps to call your city representatives—and ask those at your state capital or in federal offices—to obtain names of those to contact regarding e-cigarette issues. Touching base with a committee chairman might be more effective than emailing or calling your local mayor or federal senators or members of Congress at random. Contact names are essential because your efforts must reach those appointed to review your information. Otherwise, your carefully written words can fall down a black hole.

Having freedom to choose how you will purchase e-cigarette products will keep big business from regulating what you can buy, the price point for these products, and how consumers desiring to quit tobacco can be manipulated by large corporations.

USA businesses work best when large and small companies selling quality products have room to thrive in the marketplace. Too much regulation is always a threat to a competitive marketplace.

The regulations outlined by the FDA will require lengthy filing documents in order to make and sell e-cigs, which could end up leaving only major manufacturers in the picture. But, some regulation of these issues is a step in the right direction. After all, none of us would want to purchase e-cig products from a company with vague credentials or contact information.  

While all sorts of outcomes are possible, once regulations are finally determined, it’s critical to look at the process of FDA regulations in an objective light. Thankfully, we live in a country where food and ingested products are monitored for safety and health reasons.

As a consumer, you do want to utilize an e-cigarette provider that spends money on research and development. You do want a product that’s developed in a pharmaceutical-grade laboratory. So, maybe all of the concern from the FDA will eventually point consumers to high-quality e-cigs only.

“Users of e-cigs want to obtain their favorite flavorings, not just a few sold under tight regulations of the FDA,” says a doctor we’ll call Brad. “Vaping must include what people fully enjoy, or they’ll be tempted to return to traditional cigarettes. This is what the FDA must understand. People want choices.”

The proposed regulations in the FDA document include the following, which all seem reasonable:

·      Minors will not be able to purchase e-cigarettes

·      Merchants will not be allowed to distribute free samples

·      E-cigarettes can’t be sold in vending machines in places that admit minors

·      E-cigarettes must carry a warning that they contain nicotine, if this is the case, because nicotine is addictive

·      Manufactures must disclose all ingredients in the products they sell

Cities such as New York and Los Angeles that are working to ban or limit the usage of e-cigarettes in public places may win in the short term. But, it’s likely that states and cities will ultimately listen to the opinions of the FDA. 

It’s difficult to be patient in voicing one’s opinions, but ultimately, consumers will gain important grounds if they become very proactive over time. If consumers can play an active role in speaking up, those lawmakers that vote to limit e-cigs will likely stay open to positive research findings and educate themselves about the benefits of e-cigs.

 

 

REFERENCES

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm225210.htm

Capital New York: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/04/8544438/ban-e-cigarettes-takes-effect-today

Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/05/01/will-fda-regulation-preserve-or-destroy-the-e-cigarette-industry/

 

RESOURCES

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm227360.htm

USA TODAY: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/04/27/federal-regulation-e-cigarettes/8231849/

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/24/health/fda-e-cigarette-regulations/

Last update: May 23, 2014

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