Vape Industry Fears FDA's New Rules; the E-Cigarette Trade Suffered a Setback Thursday after the Food and Drug Administration Unveiled a Comprehensive Set of Tobacco Rules That Industry Insiders Say Will Make It Too Costly to Remain in Business. [Derived Headline]

By Schmitt, Ben | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

Vape Industry Fears FDA's New Rules; the E-Cigarette Trade Suffered a Setback Thursday after the Food and Drug Administration Unveiled a Comprehensive Set of Tobacco Rules That Industry Insiders Say Will Make It Too Costly to Remain in Business. [Derived Headline]


Schmitt, Ben, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The e-cigarette trade suffered a setback Thursday after the Food and Drug Administration unveiled a comprehensive set of tobacco rules that industry insiders say will make it too costly to remain in business.

The changes require manufacturers and owners of so-called vape shops to seek federal approval to continue marketing all e- cigarettes produced since 2007, making up the bulk of the market. Manufacturers have about two years to come into compliance.

E-cigarette users heat flavored liquids containing nicotine with battery-operated devices and inhale the vapor in a process known as vaping. The trend has increased in controversy and popularity over the past several years. Advocates insist vaping is much safer than tobacco cigarettes and view it as a way to help people quit smoking, but doctors question its safety and unregulated nature.

Public health groups and physicians praised the FDA rules as a long time coming.

"A lot of people have gotten rich off this at the expense of the American population's health," said Dr. Anil Singh, director of the breathing disorders center at Allegheny General Hospital. "I think it is a very big victory for the medical community and people in general."

Dr. Brian Primack, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health, agreed.

"Regulating this incredibly powerful drug, nicotine, is a necessary step," he said.

Vaping advocates said the federal government is all but destroying their industry.

"This is a huge disaster for public health that is being disguised as a victory for public health," said e-cigarette supporter Bill Godshall, executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania. "Let's call it what it really is: the prohibition of e- cigarettes."

The rule bans e-cigarette sales to anyone under 18, although most states already have imposed such restrictions. Pennsylvania still permits sales of e-cigarettes to minors, but most local vape shop owners refuse to sell them to teens.

In the Pittsburgh area Thursday, vape shop owners scrambled to study intricacies of the FDA rules and pondered their future.

"It's really a tough day," said Anthony Fricchione, owner of Villain Vape Shop, which has stores in Lawrenceville, Cheswick and Butler. "We still don't know how everything will shake out and we have our attorneys reviewing the rule changes."

R.J. Marino, who owns Cool Vapes stores in Cranberry and on McKnight Road near Ross Park Mall, said the new rule requiring manufacturers to apply for federal review will be too cost- prohibitive for small business owners. …

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