Altria Group Inc, one of the largest Tobacco manufacturing companies in the world has, in a 22 page comment, urged the Food and Drug Administration to scale back the regulatory stranglehold that threatens to decimate an estimated 99% of the electronic cigarette and vaping industry in the interest of protecting the health of the general public.
Before We Get Into This
The majority of vapers see these Tobacco Giants as Public Enemy #1. We are (almost) all ex-smokers and have seen first hand what cigarettes do to people. Before anyone gets into the mindset that they don’t care about the little guy, ask the people who have been at State houses around the country trying to save this industry how many times the lobbyists from this and other companies have been there on our side. Hold your venom for the Anti Smoking groups, who are sending misinformed kids into State houses and Pharmaceutical companies who are losing a fortune to the vaping industry.
Altria’s Comments And Dr. Siegel
From the beginning, the goals set by Altria for the electronic cigarette and vaping markets were clear:
1) Support manufacturers’ efforts to develop and bring to market innovative products that may advance the public health.
2) Allow industry participants to engage and compete in a dynamic market.
They are more than aware that the market is big enough for everyone and that the open system portion of the market is now larger than the cigalike section they occupy.
In essence, the comments stated that when Congress gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products, it was in the interest of protecting public health. ENDS devices are the kind of reduced risk products that the FDA should be supporting and not pushing out of the market place. The fact that almost every single product currently on the market (it’s actually all of them) will have to go through a strict regulatory process that almost none of them can afford and there is no fast track, or easy access route, to keep their products available.
If adopted in its current form, the draft guidance may result in many existing ENDS being forced off the market and make it difficult for some manufacturers to develop new ENDS products… …Should this occur, adult tobacco consumers will be deprived of important product choices.
Dr. Michael Siegel Department of Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health wrote a piece on this last week and in it he stated that in their comment they seemed to be suggesting the FDA take a similar approach to regulation that he has suggested for some time:
“Establish baseline performance standards for ENDS products that, when met, would serve as the basis for an abbreviated or alternative marketing authorization pathway to satisfy the statutory PMTA requirements.”
Before We Go
I urge everyone to jump over to “The Rest Of The Story” and read Dr. Siegel’s entire piece, but I want to point out something important for you.
Dr Siegel points out that financial incentives do play a large role in Altria’s comments. The writing is on the wall as the numbers of smokers continues to plummet and in the future most of their income may be from either electronic cigarette sales or heat not burn technology.
As much as it pains me to say this, as a vaper and a writer, in the battle against the FDA and its deeming regulations Altria is an ally we can not push away. They have the ability to fight the regulations in a way that thousands of individual companies can not, they have the financial and political sway to make a difference.
More to the point, it seems a sad day in hell when Altria appears to be doing more to protect public health than the Government agency charged with that very task.