In some big news for the vaping industry, Representatives Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Sanford Bishop of Georgia, have introduced a new proposed bill designed to save the vaping industry.
Tom Cole is a republican and Sanford Bishop is a democrat, meaning this is a bipartisan bill, making it more likely to be cosponsored by other members of both parties.
This new legislation has been named the “FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017” or H.R.1136, which is very similar to H.R.2058, more commonly known as the Cole/Bishop amendment, which they originally introduced in early 2015.
The FDA’s deeming regulations require that any product released after February 2007 to go through a lengthy and costly review process. There weren’t any vaping products on the market at that time, so this rule applies to every vapor product made. So February 2007 is the FDA’s predicate date.
H.R.2058 was designed to amend the FDA’s premarket review requirements for tobacco products by moving the predicate date to August 8th, 2016, which was the date that the deeming regulations took effect.
H.R.2058 was an amendment added to the 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill, but after Donald Trump was elected, congress passed a Continuing Resolution that delayed the budget process, which put the Appropriations bill on hold, effectively putting H.R.2058 on hold.
The bill needed to passed during the current Congress session, which had their final meeting on Jan. 3rd of this year. Since it wasn’t passed before that time, it was wiped from the books, hence the reason for this the new Cole/Bishop Amendment. This new bill has the same main focus of H.R.2058 of moving that predicate date to August 8th, 2016 but H.R.1136 includes some slightly different language designed to gain more support from democrats, mainly pertaining to advertising restrictions.
Not all of this bill is positive though, because it requires that the FDA regulate batteries, it will introduce new labeling rules and standards, and will also require that all retailers and manufactures register with the FDA. While not perfect, H.R.1136 is the first step in saving the vaping industry in the United States.
Currently, the FDA’s regulations require all vape products to go through the PMTA process, which most people believe will not result in even a single vape product to be approved, which would basically wipe out the vape industry by August 2018, which is the FDA’s cutoff date for approving any product currently being sold. The one exception would be products made by Big Tobacco who are the only businesses who could afford to go through the process.
H.R. 2058 had a total of 77 cosponsors in the end. Hopefully all of those cosponsors immediately jump back in support of this new bill and we can get this one passed right away.
So what can you do right now?
Well you can show your support by emailing and thanking Tom Cole and Sanford Bishop. You can also start contacting your local legislators and asking them to support H.R.1136.
I would keep an eye out for news on CASAA.org for an update on a call to action on this one soon.