New FDA regulations could create black market

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The FDA last week announced a new set of regulations to expand the definition of tobacco products. Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health & Human Services, believe the FDA needs to regulate “e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco” for the children. Burwell said, “As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap. All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of addiction.”

In addition to prohibiting anyone under 18 years old from purchasing an e-cigarette, among other items, Reason reports the new regulations require “e-cigarette manufacturers to get their products approved as ‘new tobacco products,’ an expensive, arduous, and time-consuming process that will be prohibitive for most of them.”

Reason adds, “Each application is expected to cost $1 million or more, and a separate application will be required for each version of a product.” In addiction to the financial cost, there is time: an estimated 1700 hours paperwork. The Daily Caller reports, “FDA analysis estimates 99 percent of products on the market won’t even be put through the process.”

And it’s not just products from smaller companies that won’t make it through the approval process. Reason adds, the standard for approval “means the FDA may reject products even when they are clearly much less dangerous than conventional cigarettes (as e-cigarettes are), based on concerns about how nonsmokers might react to them.”

There is good news for vapers – those who use e-cigarettes – the FDA “expects that manufacturers will continue selling their products for up to two years.” After the two year application and approval period, vapers can expect to be pushed into the black market.

Zach Jacobs, the founder of White Clouds Vaping, says “the millions of people in the US that vape are stuck between giving up their vice or ‘moving underground.’” Adding, “We can teach anyone how to make any flavor of E-liquid in less than 10 minutes without stepping foot in a store!”

Others fear that vapers won’t risk going to the black market to get vape supplies, and will instead do something far more dangerous: return to traditional tobacco cigarette use.

As with all aspects of the economy, regulators should stay out of the way and allow industries to thrive or fail on their own merits. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize the economic impact that will occur if these new regulations do indeed eliminate 99% of a $3.4 billion industry.