There are a lot of opinions flying around in regards to how we should deal with the FDA’s proposed regulation of electronic cigarettes and in my opinion the response from the community is pretty chaotic. There are some real questions about how to deal with electronic cigarettes and the FDA acknowledges these concerns by allowing for public comment on these proposed regulations. If we as a community are going to make a difference in how these regulations come into play then we need to use the system.
Shortly after the FDA released their proposal a petition sprang up on the whitehouse.gov website which in all honesty seemed like it really wouldn’t go much of anywhere. However there has been a lot of signatures on the petition and the FDA has officially responded which I believe is a great sign that the FDA is willing to talk and compromise on how they should regulate this industry.
Most people that I speak with agree that we do need some sort of regulation when it comes to electronic cigarettes and I agree that we need something to protect people from the possible use of harmful chemicals. The growth of electronic cigarettes has been firmly planted in a grass roots movement that rivals the introduction of most commercially marketed products that are pushed out to the public with millions of dollars in advertising. Due to the nature of this product and the grass roots growth that we have experienced the majority of boutique shops and vendors have developed E-Liquid and devices partly if not mostly as a labor of love out of the very idea that electronic cigarettes inherently spawned in all of our minds the first time we tried vaping… This is good enough to replace smoking and it will save peoples lives…
As the market capitalization for electronic cigarettes increases and it becomes obvious that there is real profit potential in this product we are seeing companies that have little more than $profit$ motivating their entrance into the electronic cigarette industry. These companies NEED to be regulated because their motivation for existing in this market is based purely on the pursuit of profit. Companies that are completely focused on profit tend to play with chemical compounds in order to increase their bottom line as in the case of tobacco companies introducing additives that make cigarettes burn faster and without going out if left in an ashtray for a few minutes. Although historically the FDA hasn’t done a very good job with the tobacco industry (mostly due to lobbying and slick political maneuvering) they are the only device that we as American citizens have to protect the general public from corporations in a health and safety capacity.
The idea of the FDA is a good one but in recent history the over-regulation of certain industries has stifled innovation and reduced customer choice. In it’s current form the proposed regulation seems to play directly into big corporations hands with large application fees and resource requirements in order to get anything approved. Large corporations can easily absorb the cost of these fee’s but can your local mom and pop vapor shop? Honestly the higher the fee’s the better off large corporations will be in this industry because anyone without a large bankroll will go out of business which lowers the cost of customer acquisition for the few companies that can afford to pay these fee’s.
Perhaps some sort of E-Liquid consortium needs to be formed that applies to the FDA for the base chemical compositions and allows it’s members to manufacture under it’s application approval? I am not sure what the answer is but what I do know is that we need to start supplying possible solutions rather than complaining about pending regulation.