House Appropriations Committee Helps Vaping Industry
The vaping industry is breathing better this week after a U.S. House committee voted to change the rules regarding Federal Drug Administration approval of e-cigarette and vapor products.
In a 31-19 vote, the House Appropriations Committee pushed back the regulatory, or predicate, date called for in the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, which meant any tobacco product made after February 15, 2007 not “substantially equivalent” to a current product would have a much more stringent review. Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) attached the amendment to an agricultural funding bill.
The vaping industry protested the FDA date, since almost none of the current businesses existed before 2007. The agency is preparing to release its regulations on which products must go through its Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process, but House Appropriations chairman Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) noted only one product in the past six years made it through the PMTA process.
While the bill is not yet law and needs to come up for a full House vote, American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley praised the amendment.
This is fantastic news for public health and small businesses,” he said. “The vapor industry and its consumers do not oppose sensible regulation, but the FDA’s proposal is anything but sensible.American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley
Industry advocates have issues with the PMTA process itself, which requires a company to prove that its new product will not harm the population as a whole. But AVA’s national legislative director thinks that vaping and e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking and should be praised—not banned under the PMTA rule.
“The majority of members of the Appropriations Committee clearly understand that vapor products represent the first game-changing technology in the ongoing campaign to reduce cigarette smoking,” Tony Abboud said. “Vapor products provide a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes for adult consumers and by voting to approve the Cole/Bishop amendment today, members of the committee have taken a necessary step to ensure that these life-changing products remain on the market.”
American Cancer Society Chimes In
However, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network disagrees. In press releases, the group accused House members of abdicating their responsibilities under the Tobacco Control Act.
“Congress made a commitment to protect the nation’s public health when they passed the Tobacco Control Act, but the Committee’s move today is a significant abandonment of that promise,” ACS CAN said. “We urge the FDA to use its authority and take immediate action to regulate all tobacco products. It’s time to take this long overdue step to protect public health.”
The AVA’s Conley believes even with the committee’s vote, the FDA will still have power to regulate e-cigarette and vaping technology.
Modernizing the predicate date will not interfere with the FDA’s ability to regulate vapor products,” he said. “All this change does is force the agency to regulate the vapor products rather than just ban 99%-plus of products on the market today.American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley
Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, treasurer of the Vapor Technology Association, also noted this action had both parties involved, which was a change from years past.
We’re happy to have bipartisan co-sponsors because up until now we only had Republican buy-in. Now we have Democratic buy-in as well.Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, Treasurer of the Vapor Technology Association
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