House Appropriations Committee passes amendment to stop the FDA from banning most vapor products.
The vaping industry is rejoicing after the House Appropriations Committee, on April 19, voted in favor of an amendment to the FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would modernize the predicate date for vapor products and stop the FDA from banning 99%-plus of vapor products on the market today.
The bipartisan amendment by Rep. Tom Cole (R – OK) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D – GA) passed by a 31-19 vote.
Yesterday, Gregory Conley, the President of the American Vaping Association (AVA), warned in an Op Ed published by The Hill that a failure to change the Feb. 15, 2007 predicate date would mean the closure of thousands of small businesses across the country and allow Big Tobacco to take over the vapor product market.
“This is fantastic news for public health and small businesses,” said Conley. “The vapor industry and its consumers do not oppose sensible regulation, but the FDA’s proposal is anything but sensible.”
“Modernizing the predicate date will not interfere with the FDA’s ability to regulate vapor products. All this change does is force the agency to regulate the vapor products rather than just ban 99%-plus of products on the market today,” continued Conley.
In addition to changing the predicate date, the Cole-Bishop amendment directs the FDA to set product standards, dictate labeling requirements, require retailer registration to effectuate youth access compliance checks, and ban self-service displays and vending machines in stores that permit minors. Furthermore, the amendment restricts the advertising of vapor products.
Despite the favorable vote, the AVA remains cautious of the process that lies ahead.
“This is only the start of a long fight to keep this provision in the overall budget bill. The industry and its consumers need to put forth a massive effort to ensure that both Democrats and Republicans do not lose sight of the importance of this policy change.”
The 2017 spending and budget bills may not be voted by the full House and Senate until the end of the year, so uncertainty in the market will continue to linger.
“The fate of the U.S. vapor product industry is in the hands of Congress,” said Conley.