New to this story? Read first part before.

Initially, what Happened when Sen. Johnson sent the 1st letter to the FDA?

More importantly, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin became an instant sensation throughout the vaping industry on May 17, 2016 after writing a letter to the FDA about his concern for the severity of the vaping industry regulations, in which the FDA had published on May 10th, five days after they announced these rules that are particularly reminiscent of the Prohibition Era. This one letter gave the vaping industry something they were lacking at that juncture.

The letter that Chairman Johnson sent to the FDA ultimately revealed to vapers and vape-related businesses that there was a U.S. leader with power and influence standing up for their rights, it gave the vape community a feeling of security knowing that a politician in a position of authority was actually working for the American public, it provided a tad bit more hope for so many vape-related small business owners, the light began to shine a bit brighter somehow allowing for the FDA overreach to not seem so dismal and bleak, and perhaps the letter gave vapers some peace of mind. Either way, it certainly sparked a great deal of chatter throughout the vaping community all over social media, which is largely significant – after all, the vape community is an online community.

The fact of the matter is that even individual vape advocates and vaping advocacy organizations became strongly drawn to the concept of a Senator demanding the same answers that all “advocating-vapers” were also demanding. Therefore, when the vaping-sphere first caught wind of this one letter Senator Ron Johnson sent out to the FDA, questioning their harsh regulating overreach, the vaping advocates, business-owners and consumers all seemed absolutely certain that the FDA would be forced to respond all due to the fact that first-time Senator Ron Johnson demanded an explanation.

What exactly did Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson voice in his 1st letter to the FDA?

Taking this into account, Johnson officially announced in his first letter that “The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is continuing to examine the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent regulation that expands its authority over e-cigarettes.”  Furthermore, on May 17, 2016, Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson wrote to request assistance from the FDA in understanding the consequences that the new regulations may have on small businesses and public health. Johnson urged the FDA to explain their overall justification for installing such harsh regulations and if they have fully considered all the potential consequences that these regulations may have on society as a whole.

Additionally, Senator Johnson requested that the FDA provide data on the number of e-cigarette businesses that will be affected by their new rules. Johnson asked the FDA whether it would issue a revised rule if sufficient data were to demonstrate that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes? Therefore, Chairman Sen. Johnson questioned the FDA about some potential unintended consequences of their rules that could result in decreased access to e-cigarettes and increased consumption of traditional cigarettes.

Altogether, this letter was certainly a logical attempt at inquiring about largely significant information. Subsequently, these reasonable questions all properly organized in a professionally written letter-form was a fair chance to allow the FDA to explain itself to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in a rational manner – in reality, a rational explanation from the FDA may be nearly impossible to ever acquire, due in large part to the idea that, in hindsight, there is no rationality surrounding their decisions.

In any event, what was most important, was that this letter was a huge bright shining beam of positive light, reflecting hope for vapers across the U.S. At first, vaping business owners and vapers nationwide saw this letter as a symbol of what the United States was truly supposed to represent. When vaping advocates learned of Senator Johnson’s efforts to gather all the facts and quite frankly, call the FDA out on their nonsensical evaluation of the vape industry, there was a sliver of excitement spreading throughout the vaping movement.

The Effect of the 1st Letter

In all honesty, there were many reasons for this creating some hopeful attitudes. Personally, I believe it was because of one particular portion of what Senator Johnson wrote in this first letter, which definitely had provided some real insight for the vaping community when he stated:

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is authorized by Rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate to investigate “the efficiency and economy of operations of all branches of the Government.”  Additionally, S. Res. 73 (114th Congress) authorize the Committee to examine “the efficiency and economy of all branches and functions of Government with particular references to the operations and management of Federal regulatory policies and programs.

This particular portion of the letter certainly provided evidence for the validity behind the letter he wrote. Making it seem as if it were the duty of the FDA to respond to this request by Johnson. Unfortunately, in reality, that’s just bureaucratic jargon he recited because the FDA answers to no one but the President.

In fact, that first letter was a very prolific event, because it allowed the vaping community to not feel so powerless, helpless and voiceless. Finally, the vaping industry and community had actually witnessed someone with a substantial amount of power and influence asking the same questions that they were also asking. It was such a powerful statement on behalf of Chairman Johnson and the Committee that the vaping community felt as if their government was not entirely abandoning them. At that point in time, vapers and small business owners within the vape-realm felt collectively abandoned and attacked by their own government.

It is safe to say that this one action was indeed a silver-lining for the vaping industry across the U.S., it truly reached the heart of the vape community. The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) shared a brief recorded interview between Senator Johnson and SFATA President Cynthia Cabrera, broadcasting the interview she had with Senator Johnson across the Internet, asking him why he felt the need to write a letter to the FDA as well as what he thinks vapers or vape-related business owners should do?

In fact, I remember when I listened to that interview quite vividly. That day was vivid because the interview was a long way away from anything vivid. Most of the Senator’s answers were far from helpful. He basically just told vapers to advocate and create awareness. Yet, how do you make millions of Americans among the general public care about the vaping regulations when mass shootings, police brutality, mobilized demonstrations in the streets and political unrest fueled by a dramatized emptiness are what currently continue to spread across the nation? The answer is simple: “It ain’t easy!” Yet, if advocating for vaping were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.

Senator Ron Johnson’s 1st Letter to the FDA

To see the letter in full, it is readable here:

In the third installment in this series of research articles covering Senator Ron Johnson and the actions he’s taken, demanding he be given further details about the FDA Regulations, specifically dissecting the second letter he sent to the Food & Drug Administration.

There’s more to read!

Know everything about Senator Ron Johnson challenging FDA vaping regulations by reading our next chapters :

Read Part Three – Read Part Four – Read Part Five

  • Esteban Garita

    Vaping will effectively become an illegal activity soon, much like doing heroin, because it messed with big money, and big money runs the government, the only chance vaping has is if the entire industry unites and sues the fda and make it as public as possible, force the fda to explain why if all evidence shows vaping is substantially less harmful than tobacco, they are passing regulations that are exponentially more strict then those passed on any other product including tobacco and alcohol, make public exactly how much money state and federal government make/get from tobacco sales and investigate the people involved in writing these regulations to see if they have been in contact with big tobacco and or received money or have interests in big tobacco’s financial well being… And big pharma too, they are as big a problem in this as big tobacco… Just look at how the fda classifies the nicotine in smoke cessation products vs vaping products.

    Otherwise take it as a loss and move on.

    • Esteban Garita

      Also, believe me when i say that everyone involved in this is betting that most vapers will return to smoking, everyone will forget or lose interest in the vaping issue and all will go back to business as usual.

      • Tony

        It will never be business as usual ever again. Vaping has changed things forever. No matter how many regulations are implemented, people will still Vape. Businesses within the industry will unfortunately diminish, then one day they will once again flourish! It won’t be easy but Vaping advocates will continue to fight this battle and Americans will soon come to realize the positive effects it has on public health. It may seem naive to think this. Yet, all you need to do is simply reflect on the results of the gigantic shift in public opinion among the concept of recreational marijuana – never in a million years did I think marijuana would be legal to puchase for those who are 21 and older in nearly 5 states as well as the nation’s Capitol. You can’t tell me you saw that coming? So my point is, who knows what can happen?

        • Tony

          Thanks again for sharing your thoughts

    • Tony

      Thank you for your comments. I absolutely agree with you that Vaping ruffled the feathers of Big Business and since they were not getting their fair share from the Vaping industry and since there is a war on small business in the U.S., the Vaping Industry became a very easy target to shutdown and quick-like. However, I would never agree that it would be parallel to the likes of a schedule 1 narcotic. Then again, I completely understand where you are coming from. Painkillers are opiate based medications and they come from the same plant as heroin – they are essentially the same thing and we all know who makes painkilling medications – the same industry which manufactures medication that supposedly is designed to help people quit smoking (which are highly dangerous and ineffective). So, you are correct when you say that Vaping messed with big money and you are correct that Big Business is largely responsible for being in connection with Big Government – otherwise known as Crony Capitalism. This is all considered theoretical and speculative information, but you are clearly someon who knows how things truly operate. I studied such concepts for years so I cannot disagree that what you’re saying is in fact, truthful. Having said that, Vaping is far too innovative, groundbreaking and effective for it to simply just disappear b/c if people want something, they’ll find a way to get it. The government could very well ban it altogether, but it won’t cease to exist – it has already made too much of an impact on millions of lives. The day will come when the public understands this complicated debate and the truth shall be revealed. Vaping is the answer to the smoking epidemic and one day it will be considered a “social norm” – unfortunately at the current time, we are forced to undergo another “Prohibition Era” – which was an insane time period: the prohibition of alcohol? In American society, alcohol became demonized. That’s crazy! Because look at how alcohol is marketed in the present day and now it’s one of the largest industries in the world. It will take some time, but Vaping will prevail. Not to mention, I wish it were as easy as you explained: “take it as a loss and move on” – that is just not an option, as this advancement in technology for allowing people to quit abusing tobacco has profoundly touched people’s hearts and souls and advocates will never lie down or stand for this unconstitutional misuse of authority. Vaping is much too important.

      Regardless, thanks for commenting. Your remarks were reminiscent of another article I wrote about Crony Capitalism. You clearly are a man who knows how things actually work – it’s always about big money and the Vaping industry is a billion dollar industry, unfortunately that is just peanuts when compared to all the industries you mentioned in your comments. I urge you to keep following my writing as I typically blend my sociological perspectives into my written work and from reading your comment, I would guess that you took a sociology class or two or at least read the right books. Thanks again, you certainly made my mind work overtime. Much appreciated!