In Parts 1 and 2, we took a look at the biggest news of the vaping industry from January to August of 2016. Now we'll take a look at what happened during the remainder of the year.A Review of the Vaping Industry in 2016: Part 3
The implementation of the FDA's Deeming Regulations for vaping products didn't serve as the only downer for 2016. A couple of states jumped on the overregulation bus with massive tax hikes, while a new surgeon general's report condemned vaping.Vape News from September 2016
In the wake of the FDA's Deeming Regulations taking effect in August, and with proposed and/or passed state tax hikes for vapor products on the horizon, four vaping organizations joined forces to create a campaign to spread awareness about the potential health benefits of e-cigs. Created by the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), Americans for Tax Reform, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) and the American Vaping Association (AVA), The Right to Vape Campaign set out on a bus tour across 15 states to urge congress to make more sensible e-cig regulations. With overwhelming support from the vaping community, the tour also received surprise visits from politicians in support of vaping. One such visit was from Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who is known for sending several letters to the FDA to determine whether or not the organization thought through any unintended consequences resulting from the deeming regulations.
For an inside look at the campaign, check out the Right to Vape Tour video series on YouTube.Vape News from October 2016
October 1, 2016, marked another blow to the vaping industry in the state of Pennsylvania: the implementation of a 40 percent sales tax on all e-cig purchases. This includes all purchases made online and within Pennsylvania vape shops. Any attempt to avoid the 40 percent sales is punishable by a $5,000 fine and possible prison time – even possessing a vapor product sold outside of the state is illegal. As if that wasn't enough, the legislation also included a “floor tax” which required vape shop owners to pay a 40 percent tax on the wholesale value of their full inventory. As a result, the massive tax has forced more than 100 Pennsylvania vape shops out of business.Vape News from November 2016
California has become well known for its anti-vaping campaigns and overregulation. From increasing the smoking/vaping age from 18 to 21 to proposing a ban on smoking and vaping in public parks and beaches, it was no surprise when Proposition 56 made its way to the ballot in November. The ballot measure called for an increase in cigarette tax from $0.87 to $2.00 per pack and included an “equivalent tax” for other tobacco products, including nicotine-containing vapor products. Supporters of Prop. 56 argued that the measure was an attempt to prevent smoking-related deaths and illnesses and to reduce teen smoking, despite the fact that the smoking rate in California is one of the lowest in the country. On November 8, 2016, Prop. 56 passed by a 62.4% to 37.6% vote and is set to take effect on April 1, 2017.Vape News from December 2016
The year ended in more vaping controversy with the release of the first U.S. Surgeon General's report on e-cigarette use among youth, The surgeon general stated that the primary purpose of the report was to “detail the clear risks of e-cigarettes to youth and give parents, teachers and other adults guidance on how to prevent young people from using them”. The report states that vaping is now the leading form of tobacco use among the nation's youth and goes on to state that the same strategies used to reduce youth smoking must also be applied to e-cigarettes, including higher excise taxes.
Despite the fact that both adult and youth smoking rates have hit an all-time low, the report claims there is still no evidence to support vaping as a proven method for smoking cessation. And, of course, the unproven “youth vaping leads to smoking” gateway theory reared its ugly head in the report, both on the list of “harms” in the comparative risk assessment and in the Foreword with the statement, “Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and many of today's youth who are using e-cigarettes could become tomorrow's cigarette smokers.”
The report received an uproar of criticism from tobacco harm reduction experts, including Dr. Michael Siegel who labeled the report as being “scientifically dishonest”.What's to Come for the Vaping Industry in 2017?
Despite strict regulations, tax hikes and seemingly never-ending controversies, the vaping industry continues to move forward in 2017. In fact, lawmakers in support of vaping are continuing the fight against the FDA's vaping regulations with the introduction of the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 to “amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for a certain effective date with respect to deemed tobacco products, to provide for the establishment of product standards for vapor product batteries, to provide for regulation of vapor products, and for other purposes.” In other words, the bill is intended to amend the FDA's grandfather date and push for more sensible regulations for vapor products.
In Part 1, we took a look at the biggest vape news during the first quarter of 2016, including positive news out of the UK in early January and the passing of the Cole/Bishop Amendment in the US during the Agricultural and Rural Development Appropriations bill hearing in mid-April. Now we'll take a look at what came next for the vaping industry.A Review of the Vaping Industry in 2016: Part 2
From federal regulations and state-level crackdowns to the world premiere of the first vaping documentary, the vaping industry had its highs and lows during the summer of 2016. One of the biggest highs was the world premiere of A Billion Lives, a documentary about vaping and government involvement in tobacco harm reduction around the world, and one of the biggest lows was the official release of the FDA's Deeming Regulations for vapor products in early May.Vape News from May 2016
Despite the positive news making headlines the month before, May 2016 was a very bleak month for the vaping industry in the US. On May 5th, the FDA announced the early release of its long-awaited Deeming Regulations for vapor products. The 499-page document sent the vaping industry into an uproar, with tobacco harm reduction expert Dr. Michael Siegel claiming the regulations to be “a disaster for public health”. It has been projected that 99% of the vaping industry could be shut down by 2018 due to the predicate date of February 15, 2007 remaining intact. As a result, all vape companies are required to submit the extensive and costly Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) for every product introduced to the market after the set predicate date, with the deadline for approval set to August 2018. Additionally, innovation in the industry has essentially been stifled as the regulations prohibit new vaping products from entering the market without an approved PMTA.
On May 11, Just one day after the FDA's Deeming Regulations were published in the US Federal Register, the long-awaited vaping documentary titled A Billion Lives made its world premiere at the Doc Edge Film Festival in New Zealand. The documentary was created by Director Aaron Biebert and Attention New Era Media, a film crew that traveled the world to reveal government failure in accepting what renowned researchers and tobacco harm reduction experts have been calling “a public health miracle.” At the time of the premiere, the sale of e-cigarette products containing nicotine or claiming to help people quit smoking were illegal within the country. Shortly after the film's debut, the New Zealand Minister of Health issued a proposal to lift the ban on the sale of vapor products within the country to instead be used as an option for tobacco harm reduction.Vape News from June 2016
In June, the “teen vaping leads to smoking” theory came back with a vengeance after a survey of about 300 high school students was conducted by a researcher with the University of Southern California's Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science. The survey quickly drew criticism based on the fact that not only was the sample was much too small to conclude that all teens who experiment with vaping will take up smoking, but also because the steady decline is youth smoking rates completely contradicts the theory. Critics also pointed out that the lead author of the survey misrepresented the survey methods and its findings. This wasn't the first (and probably won't be the last) study to manipulate study methods and findings to support the vaping gateway theory. In fact, there have been so many that now there is even a guide entitled “How to not be duped by gateway effect claims”, written by tobacco harm reduction expert Clive Bates.Vape News from July 2016
July 2016 brought on more state-level crackdowns on the vaping industry when the state of Utah implemented a complete ban on online orders for vapor products. The law was written and proposed by Paul Ray, a known anti-vaping rep who refers to the vaping industry as the “scumbag industry”. Ray has been accused of pulling a bait and switch tactic for adding hidden language within HB 415, which was never discussed or debated and didn't clearly translate an all-out ban against ordering vapor products online. The Utah Smoke-Free Association has been working to change the law through legislation and has set up the UTFSA legal fund for vapors and vendors who would like to contribute.Vape News from August 2016
For the vaping industry in the US, August 8, 2016 because known as “D Day” as in the FDA's Deeming Regulations officially took effect. This is the day the vaping industry officially came to a halt when it comes to innovation. Vaping products are now categorized and regulated as tobacco products and each new product must go through the extensive and costly Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process to obtain FDA approval in order to enter the market after August 8, 2016. All other products that were on the market prior to this date but after the predicate date of February 15, 2007 must also go through the PMTA process and obtain FDA approval to remain on the market after August 8, 2018.
All 499 pages of the FDA's Deeming Regulations, which are full of confusing language and several gray areas, were published in the US Federal Register. For more information, check out our guide to understanding FDA vaping regulations.How Did 2016 End for the Vaping Industry?
In Part 3, we'll take a look at the biggest news in the vaping industry during the last quarter of 2016, which includes outrageous tax hikes and more strict regulations proposed and/or implemented by local governments in the US.