by April Davis
It seems that every time you turn around Congress is attempting to take away another of our rights under the guise of protecting us. A perfect example is the current attack on the vapor industry.
The FDA was given regulatory authority over vapor products in 2016. Since that time Congressional hearings, lawmakers, and Bloomberg-funded campaigns have unfairly embarked on a smear campaign to vilify the notion of tobacco harm reduction.
With the help of The American Vapor Manufacturers (AVM) small companies banded together to file Premarket Tobacco Authorizations (PMTA) on roughly one million products. Another 5.5 million products were filed outside of AVM. Many of these companies have since closed. Only two entities have received FDA approval, NJOY and Vuse. Noteworthy here is that Vuse is owned by Bloomberg and distributed by RJ Reynolds. It flies in the face of logic that only two multimillion-dollar companies are worthy to have their products reach the market. It’s all about corporate interests, as it will be for Marijuana when it gets handed to the FDA.
In 2021 as FDA was overseeing PMTAs for nearly 6.5 million different products, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) used taxpayer funding to host a hearing urging the FDA to ban certain products without regard to the underlying science, nor efficacy of e-cigarette products. The head of the FDA Science Office who played a key role in approving or denying PMTAs, Dr. Holman, just took a high paying job at Philip Morris, the makers of Marlboro. It hardly seems like a coincidence.
Congress is using scare tactics in the media to overstate the so-called youth vaping epidemic, all the while denying tobacco harm reduction products for adult constituents they claim to care about. The government’s own data shows tremendous declines in youth vaping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, only 11.6 percent of high school students and 2.8 percent of middle school students were “current users”. Among high school students, past-month vaping rates have declined by 41.8 percent since 2020 and by 58.9 percent since 2019.
Congress has vilified Juul by making them the scapegoat for an imagined youth vaping epidemic and pressured the FDA to order them off the market. FDA claimed Juul hadn’t submitted sufficient data to show their product was safe, but the agency had merely ignored 6000 pages of documentation.
If you don’t think the vapor industry is worth fighting for, keep in mind that Senator Cory Booker’s bill to decriminalize Marijuana includes a provision that the FDA will get a Center for Cannabis Products out of the deal and can restrict sale and distribution if it’s determined to be “appropriate for the protection of public health” This is the same phrase that was used to hand vapor to big tobacco and Bloomberg’s corporate interests. States that currently have legalized Marijuana will be affected because the Supreme Court has given the FDA wide control over interstate commerce claiming that if it affects intrastate commerce in any way the FDA has authority to remove it from the market. And, of course, members of Congress that want to take a stance will likely use protection of children as their mantra. Just like they did with vapor.
We all need to stand up and support the efforts of the vapor industry to fight back. Participate in Calls to Action, join CASAA (Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives) and speak out on this issue. Once the FDA has its hands on legalized Marijuana it is not a question of if, but a question of when the industry will be handed over to large corporate interests, thereby crushing the small businesses in your state.