Federal government cracks down on vaporizers and e-cigs

New regulations handed down by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) this week mean the vaporizer and e-cigarette market will no longer be, as some federal officials have called it “The Wild Wild West”. FDA officials commented to 47 ABC that after a lengthy review process, a once unregulated market will become regulated starting August of this year.

Among other things, the regulations state these products can no longer be sold to people under the age of 18-years-old. Many states, such as Maryland, already ban the sale of these products to minors. However FDA officials told 47 ABC by making this a federal law it allows them to use federal resources to make sure business are complying with the new regulations.

Sharon Lynch of the Somerset County Health Department said one of the worries associated with vaporizers is that they come in flavors such as cherry, watermelon and cookies and cream that have shown to attract a younger crowd.

“The problem with the vaping and e-cigarettes is they’re coming in flavors, very attractive flavors and again we don’t know what the chemical properties of those chemicals and flavors are,” Lynch said.

The fact there is limited knowledge as to what goes into these vaporizers, is one of the main reasons why the FDA has said they need to be regulated.

Locals 47 ABC spoke to agree.

“It’s not a bad thing because we don’t really know what’s in the e-cigs and the vapes and everything,” said Ryan Bakouche.

“That’s what they (are) going to have to do to make it sure everybody healthy, I mean you don’t want nobody, like your kids and stuff out here smoking on them and then you find out its going to give them cancer,” said Ryan Cannon.

Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association, a group dedicated to helping cigarette smokers quit through vaping, said the flavors actually help smokers quit traditional cigarettes.

“We have multiple studies showing that adults find flavors extremely helpful and rate them very high in terms of the importance of flavor variability and the importance of flavors in keeping them smoke free,” Conley said.

Also as part of the regulations, any e-cigarette or vaporizer product made after Feb. 15, 2007 would have to do a pre-market tobacco application through the FDA. Essentially allowing the government to review the different aspects of the products, the ingredients used to make them and look at the health risks associated with them.

FDA officials told 47 ABC that those applications cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per product, meaning each strain of juice would have to have a separate application.

Conley said that was a conservative estimate, and that in actuality the applications could cost somewhere in the millions. Conley said with that type of price tag it could lead to the end of a lot of vaporizer companies and shops. Because of that, Conley likened the implementation of these regulations to a prohibition of sorts.

“It’s prohibition because you’re going to end up having about 99 percent of products on the market illegal,” Conley said. “The vast, vast, vast majority of the companies that make them do not have the money to put three products through the FDA approval let alone 400.”

Once the regulations come into effect, companies and shops will have two years to get their products approved by the FDA, after that selling them will become a felony.

Conley said right now a bill stands in the house of representative, HB2058, which would allow for products manufactured before August 2016 to be grand-fathered in. He also speculates several lawsuits will be filed in protest of these regulations.

Categories: Health, Local News, Maryland