FDA Moving to Ban Online Sales of e-Cigarettes?

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We interrupt our regularly scheduled e-Cigarette News Roundup to bring you this breaking news.  I’ve always wanted to say that.  But now that I have said it, I wish I hadn’t.  Read on to find out what the FDA is up to.

UPDATE: The deadline has been pushed to January 19th, so you still have some time to get your comments registered.

In what may be it’s push into the endgame for e-Cigarettes, the FDA announced public comments will come to a close on December 8th for “Non-Face-to-Face Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing of Tobacco Products.”  The FDA will be considering in the very near future what actions to take to regulate how tobacco products (including new-fangled devices like e-cigarettes) and how they are marketed.

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to obtain information related to the regulation of non-face-to-face sale and distribution of tobacco products and the advertising, promotion, and marketing of tobacco products. FDA is taking this action as part of its implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act). FDA is requesting comments, data, research, or other information related to non-face-to-face sale and distribution of tobacco products; the advertising, promotion, and marketing of such products; and the advertising of tobacco products via the Internet, e-mail, direct mail, telephone, smart phones, and other communication technologies that can be directed to specific recipients.

As you’re probably aware since you’re here online, most good e-cigarettes come from the Internet, not local merchants.  Of course, some of you are lucky and you live near a real bricks-and-mortar e-cigarete shop.  Most of us don’t, so our bricks and mortar choices are limited to gas stations and the sleazy guy with the cart in the mall.

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Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Depending on how the FDA regulates e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, the offline versions may become the only things we can get.  This action could also halt online advertisement, which would directly impact this site and some of the other blogs you probably know and love.  Now, I’m not saying I’ll pull up stakes if I can’t recoup some of my costs via ads, but I honestly don’t know what would happen if the industry were to suddenly become regulated.

I do know a lot of vendors I work with on a daily basis would be driven out of business because they run razor thin margins as it is.  The expense of dealing with regulations or having to rely on foot traffic would kill most of the market nearly overnight.

If you don’t want this to happen, submit a comment on the regulations.gov site.  Be sure to be civil and state something meaningful like how vaping has changed your life, or how you feel this would impact small businesses and so forth.  I have no idea if the comments will make an impact, or if they’ll pull a Boston and ignore what a majority of people say.

The important part is you comment on this.  I’ll post any follow-ups in subsequent news updates or individual articles of course.  But when it comes down to it, if we do nothing and they take away our ability to vape, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Finally, I’d love to hear your insights as well.  The comments await below!

Tital Image: sscreations / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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20 thoughts on “FDA Moving to Ban Online Sales of e-Cigarettes?

  1. Very concerning… I am just thinking of how government allows established tobacco companies with a deadly product to peddle their wears while they punish a "healthier alternative". In actuality government has NO right to infringe upon my right to abuse myself in any way or form but that is just a symptom of the larger issues that are occurring in this country today. The FDA in its stupidity will quite possibly push 4-8 MILLION ecig users domestically into picking up analogs once again. In their misguided quest to eliminate ALL RISK on the planet they are really not seeing the big picture.

  2. I'm a lifelong liberal democrat and with this last thing, all i got to say is down with the OBAMA administration. They messed up with the banking crisis, they messed up with the health care reforms, and now there trying to take away our rights to do what we want. I never thought I would say this but… OBAMA is worst then Bush was. At least that idiot wasn't running around trying to ban everything we do.
    Elections are pretty soon thou, we can always just bring this up at elections and support whoever is for it.

  3. the regulation gov site link is crashed. (500 error). lol. If this happens, we go underground. CAN'T STOP THE SIGNAL, so ta' speak. Chinese vendors could be our salvation on this one….political pressure from our "banker" might back the FDA off. -shrugs. I'll keep vaping even if I have to DIY it. After all the damn mechanics of e-cigs are simple.

    • I don't think our Asian friends will be of much help here. Back in 2009 the FDA was actively seizing all e-cig shipments from China based on the claim that they were unregulated medical devices. The manufacturers did nothing to stop it. It took a couple of bigger vendors (originally an industry group which fell apart) to sue for the right to sell the devices. The manufacturers will simply move on to producing whatever the next product will be once they can't sell their current product any longer.

      • This is true…I'm just speculating here…if things were to go south so ta' speak. My bet is that the FDA tries this…gets sued and loses in another "overreach". Freedom and the USA are parting ways faster and faster these days. Sorta' feel like I'm at about page 475 of Atlas Shrugged lately. -sigh

        • I think that it's a safe bet how far the FDA can go on this one will be decided in a court room somewhere.

  4. Because the gov site crashed we may never received vape mail again. I am terrified.The e-cigs in my area are basic cheap kits that donnot satisfy my cravings.

    • Don't give up yet :) I'm sure they'll have the form back online before the deadline hits. It's a site that handles all public comments for government rulemaking, not just the FDA.

  5. I really hope that comments will make a difference, but considering the FDA's history, I seriously doubt it. That being said, I did just post a comment on their site decrying the restriction of online sales. I don't know of ANY reseller in the Milwaukee area that caries anything worthwhile. And after vaping for over 3 years, I do not want to go back to smoking!

    • That's the case in most places. I think that's something that the FDA is missing here. Unlike most other tobacco products, e-cigarettes aren't widely sold on a distributor/retailer model. Most vendors can't simply strike up a deal with a grocery store chain to carry their products. Restricting face-to-face sales would destroy the industry since this is very much a new technology product, the old distribution methods don't work with it.

      • You hit it on the head, there are only a couple brands that have any distribution model in place, and those are the brands that most of us would avoid. But I doubt that the FDA really would care much, their owners (Big Pharma/Big Tobacco) issue their marching orders.

        Consumer beware of anything FDA approved.

  6. Keep backing up the second-hand-smoke case and find out how it gets used against the vaping industry in the end. Ignore the studies showing it wasn't that harmful, just keep banging on about it in coordination with the pharmaceuticals, then watch and see how the cat plays with the mouse after the mouse of tobacco has been destroyed. Hypocrites get what hypocrites deserve. I frankly don't wish to see the vaping industry destroyed and hold nothing against it, but I can't in my heart forgive some of those vaping companies who did little or helped even encourage the second-hand-smoking fraud originated by Hitler and developed into useful more recent propaganda thanks to pharmaceuticals, ASH and other anti-smoking "charities". It just distressed me to see some of the vaping enterprises falling into the same propaganda campaigns and bad-mouthing " the smokers". It was disgraceful in fact.

  7. Wow. Godwin's Law in full effect, Richard.

    I posted my story to the .gov website… I wish they would just leave us alone.