Crackdown on vaping
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As of Aug. 8, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled all vaping products tobacco products as a result of an industry-wide crackdown.
This means all products not on the market before 2007 must pass FDA inspection before being released for consumer use and consumption. Manufacturers have to apply for a Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA), which can cost anywhere from $117,000 to $466,000.
The vaping community is having mixed feelings about the changes because it will no longer be a self-regulated industry.
According to long-time vape enthusiast Dr. Rodney Bransdorfer, the new regulations and fees will force many in the vaping industry to quit or raise prices to pay for the PMTAs.
“It’s a mess,” Bransdorfer said.
He believes some regulation is necessary to prevent use among minors, in addition to keeping dangerous products from hitting the market. However, he also believes the government is overstepping their boundaries.
“Your entire [vape] system could be tobacco-free, and yet it’s listed as a tobacco product,” he said.
Additionally, the new rules restrict in-house samples, so vapers can no longer try before they buy. One bottle of juice can cost $20 and can be a big blow to many consumers without sampling the juice beforehand.
Other new regulations
- No one under the age of 18 can purchase vape kits or juice.
- You have to be 18 to even enter a smoke shop.
- Shops can no longer make juices or assemble vapes in house and can no longer provide in-house samples.
- Employees are no longer allowed to give personal recommendations on vaping accessories.
Isabel Casillas, a local vaper, says the lack of a self-service juice bar is what she dislikes the most about the new regulations.
“I think it sucks,” Casillas said.
Cameron Thomson, owner and operator of Vape Evolution in Downtown Ellensburg, believes that, on the the business side, giving away less free juice is saving him money.
“It’s kinda here nor there,” Thomson said.
Something that won’t save Thomson money are the new tax proposals. Thomson doesn’t understand why vape kits and accessories are now labeled as tobacco products.
“Why tax vaping more than the original tobacco if it’s quote-unquote the same thing?”
Manufacturers have until New Year’s Eve to register their entire product line with the FDA.
“Vapers lose,” Bransdorfer said, “and that’s where it really starts bugging me. In my experience, [vaping is] helping a lot of people quit smoking.”