First step towards a sensible regulation of the electronic cigarette

It’s a relief for the North American vape industry: A committee of the House of Representatives adopted on April 19 a text that should enable the electronic cigarette professionals to keep their products on the US market. If the legislative process is pursued, this amendment would nullify the FDA’s current provisions that threaten 99% of the current products.

Beyond political divisions

Presented jointly by the Republican Tom Cole (Oklahoma), and a Democrat, Sanford Bishop (Georgia), the Cole-Bishop amendment adopted yesterday should greatly facilitate marketing authorizations by professionals.

The Vapor Technology Association’s treasurer (VTA), Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, acknowledges members of both parties to have carried out this project, showing that the subject transcends political divisions. For him “it is a first step towards a more sensible regulation of the electronic cigarette”.

Moderate and pragmatic provisions

The Cole-Bishop Amendment provides a set of measures to regulate the electronic cigarette, a safeguard against the FDA.

The most spectacular provisions voted yesterday is the exemption for most vaping products of the “grandfather date: All marketed products at the date of promulgation will not require authorization.

The few news involving batteries, widely covered by the US media, pushed politics requiring the agency to start a regulatory processes within 12 months to be achieved in 24 months. The FDA already has the authority to regulate batteries and VTA encourages the industry to work in meeting the standards already in force.

The text does not prohibit advertising but nevertheless poses some limitations based on those of alcohol. Thus, in the printed press, advertisements for the electronic cigarette will be allowed only in publications read by more than 85% of adults or less than two million under-18s.

In order to keep under-18s away from the product, self-service sale is prohibited, unless the entrance of the establishment or business is forbidden to under-18s.

Professionals are also required to register through a dedicated website.

The legislative process is underway

The amendment will now navigate through the legislative process with, as a next step, a plenary cession whose date is not yet specified.

The e-cigarettes and vapor products generated $3.3 billion in U.S. sales last year. The FDA is expected soon to issue a final rule giving it authority to regulate those products, an agency that already has authority on cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-you-own tobacco.

According to Reuters, Public health advocates criticized the amendment, saying it benefits industry at the expense of public health.

VTA’s treasurer declared: “The fight is hard but legislators understood that the electronic cigarette is an actor of public health”, “what we do not want and we oppose is the current project that would kill 99% of the vape”. The Association issued a 1-page guidance to synthesize the major information related to the Cole-Bishop Amendment.