American vapers were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief when it was announced earlier this year that the FDA PMTA compliance deadline had been pushed to 2022. The original "deeming" remulations, as it is fondly called, had left us all a bit shaken and proved that Big Brother was all too real. This delay, while a great relief, has some people feeling like its just the FDA’s way of cutting us some slack on our leash more than a political win. This political disillusionment has a lot to do with the shake up the original grandfather date had on the vape industry.
Many of us had to sit back and watch a lot of businesses close their doors due to the financial strain that trying to meet all of the FDA requirements such as product approval would had cost. These were businesses started by people like us. Smokers who had quit and wanted to share the products that had helped them with the world and like minded people.
Suddenly, the all too comfortable world of vintage sofas and flavor tasting while loading the PlayStation was closing in on us, and the doors were literally closing behind us. For a lot of us, vaping was our saving grace. We were taking control of our lives by making the decision to not smoke and therefore not die. We were the "no combustion" generation that was well on our way to making smoking a thing of the past. Who wouldn't want to make tobacco use, the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in United States since 2009, obsolete?
The vaping industry went from "that thing that glows at the end" to a $3.5 billion industry while still staying fairly under the radar as far as the government was concerned. So when the US Food and Drug Administration did finally swoop in, it was more of a whisper than a shout and completely unexpected in the Land of the Free. This organization that had seemingly never even had their finger on the pulse of vaping was suddenly all in. It seemed like a few days passed and vaping was the new hot media topic with the FDA steering the conversation. There were news reports siting pseudoscience and proclamations about how the vape industry was targeting the children of America. It seemed like the FDA was using a Magic 8 ball as their secret informant making nonsensical claims about something they seemed narrowly aware of before. It was all news media driven, and not at all fact driven. The vape community, with our candy flavors and "cool rebellious" image that was being portrayed in this media blitz, was being forced to fight a battle no one was ever prepared for.
The vape community, businesses included, fell under attack for something silly. We were vaping as a healthy alternative to smoking, but we were being chastised for it. They were making us out to be this seedy movement of candy flavored sugar dusted hippies who were trying to lure the youth of America to our super secret villainous lair.
The accusations of trying to recruit children into vaping were especially damning and false considering vaping wasn't something that was ever advertised. It is not like there were commercials with people dressed in colorful ensembles doing a choreographed dance number on a KIA floating on a vape cloud like The Gap or a magazine advertisement.
If you knew about vaping it was strictly by word of mouth from other vapers who wanted to help you make the switch. So we were stuck with the newly minted image of being the enemy with the FDA becoming the il duce of the vaping community making vaping its new "Big Bad". Something that had to be dealt with. Reasons were vague. Gauntlets were thrown, and people started to rally. Say what you will about the good ole U S of A, but when something threatens our lifestyle we rally, literally and figuratively.
People banned together. Petitions were signed, letters were written, emails were sent, and the vape community hooked up with sites like CASAA
to fight the good fight. It was a war of words, and then it came down to the vote.
Unfortunately, the vote was not in our favor, but that definitely did not stop the vape community from showing up and making their presence known then and everyday since, and the vape community is only growing. A lot of people wanted a why. Why this? Why us? Why now? The "Why" to me seems pretty simple. Remember that $3.5 billion I mentioned?
Everyone could see what was really happening. Vaping was raking in money, and it was putting the IT factor in QUIT, and the powers that be wanted their cut. After making the vape community out to be a bunch of charlatans who were apparently attempting to convert the masses it seemed that the elephant in the room was the tobacco companies.
Staying well hidden behind their political pundits they seemed to decide that the same industry they were demonizing was one they wanted to dip their toes in. So, now you can find ecigarettes from some of the companies that you started vaping to get away from...and commercials for them as well. With the arrangement of ownership and taxation of the vape industry they are desperately trying to latch on to something that was taking business away from their poisonous products.
The push in the deeming date has bought the vaping industry a significant amount of time to not have to deal with the hassles and entanglements that they would have if the FDA hadn't pushed the date. It also gives the community more time to prepare for the time that will ultimately come when we have to fight for our rights.
The FDA delaying the deeming date has definitely created some much needed optimism within the vape community and even more so with vape business owners. A community that once felt disillusioned and dissatisfied with our government and felt that our voices were being ignored are now feeling a little more love for Uncle Sam. We are latching onto the hope that the steps that have been taken by changing the date shows that they are listening and trying to accommodate our needs while they gather more information. Businesses that weren't at all sure they would survive are now very optimistic and ready to thrive.
E-Cig Intelligence is an independent agency that specializes in tracking and covering changes in the industry. They conducted a survey amongst US vape shops. The results they released shows a surge of optimism among 77% of the remaining retailers. Before the FDA deadline delay announcement was made, more businesses were ready to close up shop, however now, 50% of the people who took the survey are ready to increase their stock and 42% are planning to expand their business. Check out the press release.
"77% of retailers are feeling some industry optimism, an immediate 25% increase on responses received before the FDA decision; 50% of respondents are now looking to increase stock levels, and 42% plan to expand their operations"
--E-Cig Intelligence Press Release
That is, of course, amazing news to hear. Although the deeming date has been pushed for the USA it is not a one size fits all fix. Every Country, every state, every city has different rules, guidelines, laws, and new regulations coming all the time. So make sure that you are aware of what is going on in your particular location. Stay educated on what is going on. Know what people to contact to keep advocating. Find out who your congressmen are and email them your stories of why you made the switch and why vaping is a great alternative to smoking. Letting them know how vaping changed your life at least opens the lines of communication and keeps them informed. With the vape community at 10 Million people in the world and counting, our voices are sure to be heard. You never know who's mind you can change. There is always something you can do. No action is too small. At the moment things are definitely looking up in the United States of America, and it seems that the vape community can turn that collective sigh of relief into a nice deep breathe of smoke free satisfaction.