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Changing the Grandfather Date, a high-stakes game for the US vaping market

The US budget bill is in the home stretch at the Congress, it is time for members to introduce in the bill exogenous provisions.

It is in this context that the Republicans have submitted a rider to change for the electronic cigarette, the Grandfather Date for the tobacco products, a provision that allows keeping the marketing right acquired before that date.

In 2009, when the US Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act, the FDA became in charge of the regulation of tobacco products. It has then been decided that the products already marketed on February 15, 2007 were not concerned by this regulation. In contrast, the products that were launched after this date fall into the new marketing rules.

The vaping products that should be deemed tobacco products in a close future were almost absent from the market before February 15, 2007, since this industry was in a slow growing stage and really emerged a few years later. If nothing changes from now, vaping products manufacturers will have to comply with heavy administrative compliance procedures to continue to sell their products. Along with those procedures, unavoidable fees may lead the smallest manufacturers to shut up the curtain and may affect the overall US vaping industry. The sole industry in sufficiently sound financial health to overcome this process is the tobacco industry (the so-called Big Tobacco) that, in most cases, have broaden their activities towards vaping products.

As an example of this complexity, the brand Swedish Match that recently obtained the FDA’s authorization to launch 8 new snus (tobacco) products had set up a file of more than 100,000 pages.

Vaping partisans have deployed large efforts to move the Grandfather Date, but the fight is tough facing the unwavering determination of “anti- ecigs”. The AVA, whose commitment is the defense of small- and medium-sized businesses’ interests, is deeply involved in the fight.

The most fervent opponents of e-cigarette in the United States are conducting campaigns tirelessly against a product they consider appealing the youth to tobacco. They hold electronic cigarette manufacturers responsible for targeting the youth with attractive aromas and fancy colors.

For the detractors, postponing this date would mean that some candy and fruity flavored products would be left on the market for the coming years, the products they just seek to eradicate.