Synthetic Nicotine Added into Omnibus Bill
Today in Washington D.C., a rider was added to the Omnibus Bill calling for FDA oversight on the use of synthetic nicotine in vapor products, which is essentially a defacto ban. We want to ensure that the vapor industry has accurate, up-to-date information on the bill and a clear understanding of SFATA’s reaction and strategies.
The omnibus bill is a must-pass piece of legislation combining diverse measures into a single document that is ultimately accepted in a single vote by a legislature. Due to the size and scope, omnibus bills limit the opportunity for debate and scrutiny of the covered measures.
So, what does this mean for synthetic nicotine?
According to our sources at the Capitol, Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), along with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), led the effort to get the language into the omnibus. The measure is similar to language presented by Senator Mikie Sherrill (NJ-D) in the “Clarifying Authority Over Nicotine Act of 2021 (HR 6286)”. If passed, the FDA will regulate synthetic nicotine the same as it regulates tobacco-derived nicotine.
Other sources have informed us that top appropriators and congressional leaders are hoping to conclude omnibus negotiations on the spending package in the House on Wednesday, March 9th. A vote from the Senate is expected by Friday.
While open items remain, both sides of the aisle remain confident that discussions are going well enough to eliminate the need for a fourth continuing resolution for the fiscal year, which means a vote is imminent.
Let us be clear – given the information above – the situation is DIRE.
There is little time to act on getting the rider removed from the bill or delayed for later discussion. Additionally, powerful forces are pushing for it to remain in the bill when it passes. Our sources state that several large vapor companies are also in support of the legislation.
The goal of the rider is to take down companies manufacturing high nicotine disposable vape products commonly found in convenience stores and gas stations. Data suggests these products are most popular among youth. Intended to punish bad actors, the bill will punish small and mid-sized e-liquid manufacturers that switched to synthetic nicotine after September of 2021’s mass issuance of MDO’s, which forced nearly 100% of flavored e-liquid products off the legal market. Once again, legislature is attempting to jam a rope through the eye of a needle and placing the greatest burden on small businesses – many of whom helped to put them in office in the first place - and it’s looking like they might succeed.
So, what can you do?
SFATA is encouraging all business owners to follow the call-to-action published by CASAA earlier today. We implore all retailers to educate their customers on the impact of the measure and have them submit the pre-written opposition letter through CASAA’s website. A visit to www.whywevape.org is also strongly encouraged. Collecting consumer testimonials may not help with this battle but will absolutely help with future fights.
In addition to this, all business owners are urged to reach out to their federal legislators and explain how this law would harm their operations. Phone calls are the most effective method. You can find your legislators’ contact information using the following link:
Manufacturers should pay close attention to SFATA’s social media pages for future insight into submitting a PMTA for their synthetic nicotine products.
Although this news is alarming, SFATA leadership reminds you that despite this latest challenge, the vapor industry has been able to adapt throughout its nearly 15-year history, regardless of the ever-changing regulatory landscape. SFATA leadership has been keenly aware that synthetic nicotine might soon be placed under FDA’s authority and has a plan to address this.
It is critical that we remain calm and focus on our next steps. In fact, we have a meeting scheduled with state group leaders this Thursday, March 10th to lay out that plan and provide the tools necessary for its execution. This strategy remains unchanged, regardless of the outcome of the omnibus vote.
If you are a state leader or belong to a state group, we encourage you to register for the event by following this link:
We look forward to working with you in protecting the future of vapor, as SFATA has done since 2012, and in celebrating a decade of advocacy, education, and reform.
ACT NOW! CLICK TO ACCESS CALL-TO-ACTION