The vaping community and (most) vendors have been aware for some time how catastrophic the deeming FDA regulations will be to the industry. But, it hasn’t been until this week that the media clued in to the idea of hundreds of small businesses being crushed. Why is that?
If you follow vaping-related news on any kind of regular basis, you’ve likely seen a story making the rounds among various news agencies. For once, small business owners are being heard about what FDA vaping regulations mean to them.
The news is not good. As many trade and consumer groups have analyzed, small businesses will not be able to meet the requirements for pre-market authorization as laid out by the FDA. Each product submitted for approval will have to go through a process that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and several thousand person-hours to complete.
How many mom-and-pop businesses of any kind do you know of that can pony up that kind of dough? And that’s per product. Not just each flavor of e-liquid, but each flavor and nicotine strength counts as a separate product.
Yet for months the media coverage focused around Big Tobacco and how the FDA regulations will keep them in check. Unlike small operations, Big Tobacco not only has buckets of cash, they generally only have a small number of vaping products.
What seems to have kicked off this round of media coverage might have been the Republicans’ efforts to reign in the FDA’s giant hammer and make them rethink the grandfather date. Naturally, the cries of Republicans protecting their friends popped up, but as I mentioned, the FDA regulations are a gift to Big Tobacco.
It seems that somebody somewhere actually dug into that idea and figured out that maybe this isn’t some big tobacco plot. From there they did reporter-y things and actually talked to small business owners.
But, I also think they had help. If you look at some of the news articles, there are quotes and other information attributed to groups like the American Vaping Association and SFATA. So, it seems like all the hard work these groups and individuals have been putting in has been paying off and more attention is being paid to the real vaping industry.
Now the question is can this lightening be bottled? The news cycle is notoriously short-lived and this story is quickly becoming old news. Will we see more stories in the future that paint the vaping industry as something other than a secret cabal controlled by Big Tobacco that tricked us vapers into thinking we’ve quit smoking while they try to steal our children?
Let’s hope so. One way to make sure it happens is to support these groups. But also, make your voice heard. Talk to your local political critters. Talk to the media. Hell, talk to the crazy guy that runs a blog only his cats read (hi Mr. Fluffers!)
Just do what you can to get the word out. Our narrative has been controlled by people who are out to get us for far too long.