Last week we attended the Vape and the FDA event hosted by the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) in Washington DC. It was great to catch up with familiar faces in industry and to discuss the key focus areas for the US market. As a national trade association, the VTA has four main priorities for its members –
- Keep the vaping markets open and competitive for both small and big players
- Ensure the long-term viability of the industry
- Defeat bills that stifle innovation critical to public health
- Transform the public debate on vapor products
Over the two-day event, a wide range of topics were covered from battery standards and safety to FDA Inspections and Good Manufacturing Practices with guest speakers like Congressman Ryan Costello and Marc Sheineson, Partner at Alston & Bird. Chris Howard from E-Alternative Solutions also gave a great presentation on ‘Putting an End to Youth Access to ENDS’. The conclusions and key takeaways from the event were:
- The quest to improve public perception of Vaping – Currently, the US public perception of vaping is that it is not safe; however, there is no scientific data to support this. The American Cancer Society has issued a similar statement to Public Health England stating that vaping in safer than combustible cigarettes¹. However, this message is not getting out and Industry needs to be aligned and fight back against the anti-vaping lobbyists.
- Flavour bans – We have already seen flavour bans introduced in San Francisco and this could very well be the start of a ban implemented across the nation. The FDA has also requested feedback on this topic to understand their safety. One thing is for sure, consumers prefer flavoured e-cigarettes², and there are concerns that banning flavour would decrease switch rates.
- Responsible marketing – The US is concerned with the popularity of vaping among teenagers, and therefore responsible marketing practices should be implemented. This is a pillar of the VTA in that all its members must sign up to their Responsible Marketing framework. The good news is that data gathered since 2015³ shows youth use of vaping products is in decline. However, this statistical data point is not featuring in the media.
- Regulations hindering innovation – Due to the recent laws implemented in the US, and the requirement for a PMTA (with its associated cost) before any new or improved product can be launched, innovation is being stifled. Better products would lead to more adults switching from smoking so this is holding back the quest to improve public health.
The VTA is doing its best for the survival of the Vaping industry in the US, and its members are ready to comply with sensible regulations. It remains to be seen if this can be achieved to allow these products to continue saving lives.
Andy Mooney with other VTA Members on Capitol Hill
- https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/e-cigarette-position-statement.html [Accessed 03 Jul 2018].
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854347/ [Accessed 03 Jul 2018].
- https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0615-youth-tobacco.html [Accessed 03 Jul 2018].