FTC Seeking Comments On How Vapor Products Are Marketed

The FTC is currently in the process of deciding how vapor products can be marketed and they are accepting public comments from vendors for the second time.

They did this for the first time in 2015 and were seeking comments about how vendors are featuring tobacco product marketing data in community education around tobacco and why vendors would value marketing and sales data pertaining to ENDS products.

They received 37 comments from health organizations like the American Heart Association and the Campaign for Tabacco-Free Kids, government entities like the National Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee, and industry members like R.J. Reynolds, Altria, and Fontem.

Cynthia Cabrera, the former executive director of SFATA, recently pointed out that the FTC notified big players in the industry, but didn’t notify any of the small vape businesses, which is a major part of the industry. It’s a good thing this was noticed because this gives smaller companies the opportunity to provide input.

The FTC is requesting comments on things like:

  • If you support data collection
  • If data collection is necessary for the FTC
  • Suggestions on improving data collection, such as what data they should collect
  • If State-by-State data collection is needed
  • How to minimize the burden of data collection
  • Sales data – on things like
    • types of products
    • open/closed systems
    • rechargeable/disposable
    • different types of flavors
    • nicotine strengths

The document is long so I only tried to summarize it.

I highly recommend that any business submitting a comment read it all the way through, because it will give you some ideas of how you can comment. For example, the document mentions that the RJ Reynold’s comment recommended against differentiating products by product types since most retail stores sell disposables and rechargeables, while vape shops sell tank products.

Another example I saw was that The Joint Public Health comment stated that one of the reasons youth and adults try e-cigarettes is because of flavors.

And Reynolds and Fontem opposed the collection of detailed flavor data.

You might agree or disagree with any of those statements, but either way, you should submit a comment.

I don’t own a vape business so I can’t offer any specific suggestions and I don’t want to give bad advice, so I suggest that if you’re a vape shop, that you reach out to SFATA or another industry organization for advice.

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