Key Decisions for Vape Leaders
Since FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced their new approach to nicotine products about a month ago, some have said it is the solution we have all been hoping for. Four additional years of ability to operate without the required – and largely impossible - PMTA filing is very helpful.
But I disagree it is the solution. This is a welcome delay, but not a solution at all. It is only a bridge to another approach for regulation of nicotine products.This shift in how our products are regulated will require examination of how we have done business in the past, and will bring changes to how we do business in the future.
If you are a manufacturer, you have probably already been shifting how you sell, and to whom. You may be more Europe-facing than before, you may have changed container sizes and labelling. But one thing is certain about this new FDA approach - more change is coming!
If you are a retailer, you have also seen changes, and you’ve realized the problems with unsold inventory, quickly shifting consumer preferences, and competition from online sellers. I feel your pain, but need to say that more change is coming here too.
No doubt, there is a handful of people who just want to ride out the next 5 years and fold up their tent. (I'm guessing they aren't reading this). But if you are a real leader in the vapor space, you want to do more. You want to dominate!
So the question becomes, “How can I make the right decisions in such an uncertain environment?” For the answer to that, I’d look to Abraham Lincoln, who said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Join us today and create your future. We have been talking with folks at the FDA and policymakers in Congress. Attitudes toward vaping are changing, but slowly. And with that change, new questions are arising about how to regulate less harmful alternatives to smoking. I thought it would be important for leaders in the vapor space to think about some of the questions, and the potential outcomes of a new policy would have on their business.
Considering these possibilities can make you more prepared for eventual outcomes. But, more proactively, you can help guide policy to avoid negative decisions Needless to say, you can impact these decisions, but only if you are involved.
So here are some of the policy options being floated in various circles:
• Will FDA submit to intense pressure and ban flavors or place limits on flavors?
• Will they embrace a strongly promoted suggestion to only allow closed system devices?
• Will they limit e-liquid sales to face-to-face only (no online sales)?
• Will they put additional limits on marketing, or the descriptions of e-liquids?
• Will they mandate maximum nicotine levels (I’ve heard 24mg/ml, and 12mg/ml)?
• Will they, conversely, mandate MINIMUM nicotine levels (I’ve heard 9mg/ml)!?
• Will they limit device wattage (I’ve heard 50-75 watts or less mentioned)?
• Will they limit tank capacity (like max at 2ml - as is the limit in Europe)?
• Will the Administration institute import tariffs or duties on Chinese products?
These are all potential changes that could be part of any new FDA approach to nicotine and tobacco control policy, as they look for standards and requirements that will help improve safety and change behavior. And yes, some of these sound crazy. But we all know the government would never put in place a stupid policy… (note: sarcasm and eye roll). I never thought someone would think that maximum 10 ml e-liquid container or a 2 ml tank max size would be a smart policy – and then Europe wrote them into their Tobacco Products Directive (TPD)!
There are undoubtedly many other policy proposals that I have not heard yet as well. But, the only way to know about and impact how these are considered is to be at the table to hear them. We have a saying here in DC that applies to you here;
“If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu!”
I don’t provide this list to alarm anyone, these discussions are just beginning. But I DO want everyone to think about what might be coming, to be prepared for it, and to get involved with SFATA to shape the outcome. The questions is not whether these decisions will be made, the question is BY WHOM? Plato famously said:
“The penalty for not participating in politics, is that you will be governed by your inferiors.”
So, what’s it gonna be? Sure, you can ride out the five years and bail, or you can step up to the plate. You can help steer the decisions on these critical issues, and make the future you want. You can make the future that allows your company to be profitable for generations to come.
The recent announcement does provide a great opportunity now to roll up our sleeves and create our own winning destiny for our companies and our consumers, alike. But, never forget…
“You can't win if you don’t play!”
I sincerely hope you’ll get on board with us, as this work is only possible with consistent funding through your SFATA member dues. Without you, we don’t exist (and neither does your voice in this important creation of your own professional destiny). Will you step up today and help fund this important work by renewing or even increasing your investment in this mission?
Go to www.sfata.clubexpress.com to see the new array of options to invest in your representation in these talks. Join us today!
All the best,