Earlier this week, the FDA released an official proposal for ecig regulation. Since then, we’ve seen dozens of ecig companies, market analysts, and vaping activists respond to the proposal. The reactions have been mixed with some standing in staunch support of the FDA and others expressing extreme frustration. Here is a detailed look at the vaping community’s reaction to the proposal. Read what some industry leaders had to say and then weigh in with your own opinion in the comments. We want to hear from you!
Lorillard was among the first to praise the FDA’s proposal, calling the regulations “reasonable”. “It appears that the FDA is taking a science-based approach,” said Chief Executive Murray Kessler.
Miguel Martin, president of Logic E-Cigarettes, agreed with Lorillard. “We look forward to being a part of this process and believe that science-based and responsible regulations are good for both adult consumers and responsible electronic cigarette manufacturers,” he said. “We support and have already implemented those steps to ensure that adult smokers are the audience and consumer base of our products… we work with the retailers to ensure the product is sold to adult consumers of legal smoking ago.”
NJOY said the FDA’s proposal was the first step to a promising future. “By resisting calls to regulate ahead of – and indeed in opposition to – the science and data, today the FDA has brought NJOY a giant step closer to achieving its corporate mission of obsoleting cigarettes,” said NJOY president and CEO Craig Weiss. “They are encouraging signs that 10 years from now, this date will be remembered as the beginning of the end of the tobacco epidemic.”
Nicotek CEO Greg Doyle also remarked that the FDA’s approach would yield positive results for the ecig industry. “I would consider the deeming regulations extremely favorable for the industry as a whole,” he said. “The industry is receiving immeasurable credibility and exposure from a consumer standpoint, which should rapidly increase consumer demand leading to additional opportunities for Nicotek.”
Morgan Stanley –
Tobacco analyst David Adelman from Morgan Stanley thought the FDA’s regulations were “very light, non-disruptive and unlikely to impact” the vaping industry as a whole. However, he cautioned that subsequent actions from the FDA in the future could be harmful.
Wells Fargo Securities –
Analyst Bonnie Herzog from Wells Fargo was positive about the regulatory proposal, saying it would bring consolidation to the ecig industry and unite the 200+ manufacturers. She also believes the big tobacco companies that sell e-cigs will have positive outcomes from the regulation. “It benefits the entrenched players,” she said.
RBC Capital Markets –
Tobacco analyst Nik Modi from RBC Capital Markets agreed with Herzog, saying that tobacco’s big players that have ventured into vaping products will receive the biggest benefit, “particularly Lorillard as the FDA did not mention rules on flavors or advertising.” Modi also raised questions about the extent of the new regulations. “We find it interesting this statement does not mention vapor products (open systems, e-liquids, tanks, mods). As we have pointed out… this is currently a fast-growing category within tobacco.”
While the ecig companies and industry analysts had a positive reaction to the proposed regulations, vaping activists were extremely concerned. Some were even angry about the proposed changes, believing they would be damaging to the industry in the long run.
The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association condemned the regulations as inappropriate. “While there is a need for appropriate and proportionate regulation of vaporizers and e-cigarettes, these products represent a new and unique category… Trying to squeeze an innovative vapor product into a regulatory structure that was designed for traditional combustible and oral tobacco products is simply not appropriate,” said a SFATA representative.
Dr. Michael Siegel –
Dr. Siegel, professor at Boston University School of Public Health, has been a major voice in the vaping community over the past few years. He was outraged that the FDA plans to regulate ecigs under section 911, for modified risk product provisions. “This is a complete disaster and is not in the interest of protecting the public’s health. In fact, this provision is going to harm the public’s health. It is going to require manufacturers to implicitly lie about the intended purpose and relative safety of their products. Sadly, the agency concluded that it is not sure that e-cigarettes are any safer than tobacco cigarettes… (this) does not say a lot for the agency’s scientific standards. The provision is going to undermine the public’s appreciation of the health hazards of smoking and prevent companies from telling consumers the truth: that e-cigarettes are a lot safer than tobacco cigarettes.”
CASAA is perhaps the most effective group of ecig activists in the United States and they took a strong stand against the FDA regulations. “The rules would eliminate the small businesses that provide the high-quality e-cigarette products that experienced vapers prefer. The filing requirements that would be imposed on manufacturers would put small-sized, and probably medium-sized, companies out of business. Only a half dozen large manufacturers (particularly including the major traditional tobacco companies and their suppliers) would be able to meet these requirements. Moreover, any smaller manufacturer that was able to complete the filings would face the prospect of being instantly put out of business by the FDA’s ruling as soon as the grace period (24 months) expires and the FDA gets through the backlog and rules on their applications. Thus, these regulations appear to eliminate the vast majority of e-cigarette manufacturers approximately two years after they take effect.”
Independent Vapers –
Within hours of the FDA’s announced regulatory proposal, a petition appeared online asking for President Obama to veto the FDA regulations on ecigs. Within less than 24 hours, there were more than 10,000 signatures on the petition. In order to be considered, the petition must hit 100,000 signatures by May 24. At the current rate, it will easily surpass the required number of signatures before the deadline.
The petition states, “The FDA has classified e-cigarettes as tobacco products and will now severely restrict their use. These regulations are not like those of tobacco, but instead all manufacturers will be required to complete a lengthy and expensive application just for putting new products on the market. This includes mechanical mods, variable voltage, tanks, drippers, etc. Any new model after 2015 will be required to complete this application. The FDA has overstepped their boundaries. E-cigarettes CAN NOT be classified as a tobacco product as there is no tobacco in it. They fret about nicotine, but there is nicotine in many plants including tomatoes. They fret about the flavors, yet allow Smirnoff Vodka to advertise candy and fruit flavors. Do not allow the FDA to take control of a life saving product.”
What Do You Think?
Now that you have read the different perspectives from ecig companies, market analysts, and vaping activists, what do you think about the regulations? Are you worried about the future of ecigs? How will this impact your favorite brand?