US Advocacy Groups Fiddle Whilst the American Vaping Industry Burns
When Trump handed over the keys of the FDA to Scott Gottlieb many of us in vaping thought it heralded a bright new dawn for the state of the vape in America…so what the hell has gone wrong?
In the last few weeks Gottleib and the FDA has gone into full on idiocy mode with threats to:
- Ban all e-liquid flavours
- Remove the 4 year deadline for all new e-cigarette products
- A ban on all online vape sales across America
- The FDA has raided the offices of the manufacturers of JUUL
- Top 5 vape companies warned to do more to stop underage sales!
Wow…just wow…the stupidity and over-reaction is strong with this one…
Gottleib himself a cancer survivor and one time investor in the vaping industry was probably the right man to have at the helm certainly as far as the vaping industry was concerned. Indeed he made no bones about the effectiveness of vaping as a ‘probable’ safer way of quitting smoking.
But even as the vaping world was celebrating Gottleib as the ‘saviour of the vape’ in my piece The State of the Vape – A Look at the Impact of the FDA Announcement – written in July 2017…I did suggest caution.
As I stated at the time the main advocacy groups in America really did need to get their collective asses in gear and actually do something because as we all know or at least have a gut feeling – that all things vape in the states is political and where there’s politics there’s media and money!
It ain’t over until the last brown envelope has been passed over by the lobbyists…you could say…
Follow the Money
So why has Gottleib and the FDA suddenly gone all swivel eyed I hear you ask?
Might I suggest that’s down to a few things but mainly the hysteria whipped up by the media over the JUUL – backed no doubt by lobbyists from Big Tobacco.
I got sick and tired of writing or should I say rebuffing the endless stream on anti JUUL hit pieces this past year or so – but they kept on coming – and coming and coming.
Until as is the case in this media led world of fake news we live in – I suggest the pressure got to Gottleib and following on from the San Francisco flavour ban fiasco – he had to do something to placate the marauding anti nicotine nitwits at the door.
Anyone else notice the HUGE spike in Big Tobacco shares following Gottleib’s John Wayne style stare down of the vaping industry? Those same share prices had suffered badly thanks to vaping – e-cigarettes and indeed JUUL…somebody got rich…
Nothing to see here – move along…
And hey those same lobbyists after getting the media in a frenzy declaring the infamous ‘JUUL epidemic’ stories led to holier than thou politicians and pressure groups screaming from the hills that we ‘need to protect the kiddies’.
They’ve tried that one here in the UK but as recent figures show and as hard as the media tried our politicians are made of stronger stuff – or the lobbyists don’t have as much cash to chuck about 😉 – [BTW expect an article on the Science and Technology Committee findings soon – my apologies for being very behind].
To say Gottleib has done a 180 is an understatement – he’s pretty much declared a war on vaping in the USA and as things stand right now it could be the end of vaping in America.
So given America is the largest user in the world of all things e-cig – it naturally follows this may have a devastating effect on vaping across the world. As I’ve said before it’s always been the case in most fashions/trends etc that if America leads the majority of the world tends to follow.
So What Are The Threats To Vaping In America?
So let’s look at exactly what the threat vapers in the US and indeed the vaping industry as a whole is facing.
In simple terms the previous ruling that all new vape products in America had to pass through a ton of expensive scientific and political red tape was pushed back until 2022.
This it was thought would give both the Government and the vaping industry time to assess data as to just how safe e-cigarettes were before any new legislation was brought to bear.
Everyone sat back and breathed a little easier – pun intended.
Ever since Ronald Regan declared a war on drugs US politicians and lobby groups have had a hard on for anything they see as addictive – except for some bizarre reason caffeine.
Forget the crack cocaine and heroin epidemics [some say created by the US Government eg: the Contras – Ollie North and Cocaine] – that continues to fuel death and crime – forget alcohol that damages individuals and families and forget the nudge nudge wink wink smile of the need for that strong ‘cup of Joe’ in the morning.
Caffeine and nicotine are both cut from the same cloth chemically with very little difference in their makeup. But coffee is acceptable indeed embraced by all these prissy politicians and lobbyists and the whole world now has a Starbucks in seemingly every town.
Did I mention US fighter pilots are given nicotine pills to keep them focused and alert…but I digress.
Lit tobacco is has we’ve known for decades carcinogenic – nicotine isn’t – yup – nicotine does NOT cause cancer. It’s the burning of the tobacco and the fumes created that is the killer.
Big Pharma and Big Tobacco Have A Lot To Lose
Gottlieb and the FDA are happy to pronounce ‘medicinal’ nicotine delivery systems as safe and unbelievably as I pointed out in my article Suicide or Vaping? You Decide they’re also happy enough to give the green light to drugs to quit smoking that have terrible side effects that includes suicidal tendencies!
Which brings Big Pharma into the anti vaping arena – so two of the largest money makers in the world the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries have a LOT to lose if vaping continues to be the go to tool across the world to successfully quit the cancer sticks.
Add to that yet another development of Trump’s supposed ‘trade war’ with China and given the beating heart of all thing vape comes from China – that’s another possible reason to consider.
Trump has already slapped tariffs on many goods from China including electronics – which of course vape mods fall under – so it ain’t much of a stretch to put pressure on the booming vaping industry stemming from the country.
OK it’s a bit of a stretch – but think about it – follow the money because as I’ve already said where big pharma – big tobacco – lobbyists – politics and the media are involved – there’s bucketful’s of money sloshing about.
And hey that goes against the grain of Trump being the job creator given the worldwide vaping industry is going to be worth around $43 Billion over the next few years with America making up the lions share in turn employing hundreds of thousands if not millions of workers.
Will Trump seriously allow his appointee Gottleib to decimate the inroads his administration is having in both job and wealth creation? Who the hell knows with that guy – but those figures alone are not to be sneezed at and could – I say could – have an impact on any decision making.
So Who’s Fighting The Threat?
So what’s being done to repel this clear and present threat to vaping in America?
Well the American Vaping Association – AVA – issued a press release…oh my talk about taking the fight to the FDA…
The president of the group said:
Vaping products are intended for use by adult smokers, not youth. However, just like with marijuana and alcohol — usage rates of which are higher among teens than vaping products — it is impossible to stop all youth from experimenting.
I’m sure the FDA is quaking in its boots at that barrage…
One of the larger ‘advocacy groups’ stateside is the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association – CASAA.
You’d expect those guys to be up in arms and leading from the front with a rallying cry and call to action to save vaping – wouldn’t you???
Rather than a press release they opted for a blog post…*sighs*…
Sure it’s a carefully crafted piece pointing out the actual fall in youngsters using e-cigarettes and of course we have a fancy graph…again I’m sure the FDA is quaking in its boots.
However to be fair the article makes a great point on actual sales to minors – which after all is what Gottleib has gotten his panties bunched up about:
It’s important to note that the FDA’s own “enforcement blitz” data shows that vape shops and major retailers were not the location of most underage store sales, making up only 6.1% and 27% respectively.
Furthermore, data on all underage sales including alcohol and tobacco shows that, of 135,509 inspections, fewer than 1% were found to involve sales of vapor products to minors. A whopping 78.1% of the underage purchases were actual tobacco leaf products, not vapor products.
But again lobbyists –politicians and Gottleib himself are hardly likely to surf their way to the CASAA website and ‘have a read’.
Which brings me to the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association – [SFATA].
So how have they responded to the tick tocking time bomb of the decimation of the American vaping industry?
Hands up if you think press release? Hands down if you think blog post – put both hands up to surrender if you think the answer is nothing – nada – zip…
Yup – you’re right – nothing.
Come on I mean WT actual F!!!
OK they’ve retweeted a couple of bits from other sources that kind of slam the FDA’s threats – but that’s about it…
Instead you’ll find lots of calls to come to their latest seminar – welcoming their new directors etc etc…but sweet f**k all about how to save the American vaping industry which given their mission statement is a bit rich:
SFATA is heavily focused on defending the industry’s ability to remain profitable in the U.S. marketplace. As a national trade association, we represent and advocate on behalf of our member companies at the federal level as our core mission. But, we will also engage at the state and local levels…
I call bollocks on that claim…
A Vaping Prohibition In Your Lifetime?
So there you have it – no-one in vaping apart from a couple of vape famous reviewers and a few industry insiders and influencers are circling the wagons and preparing to fight the devastation that if left unchecked the FDA will reap on vaping in the largest democracy in the world.
A while back I jokingly called on the NNA to send Dave Dorn over to America to lead the fight to save the vape but given he’s taken a well earned back seat – maybe the firebrand that is Sarah Jakes might be the iron lady to dispatch.
She’s certainly got more balls than all the US based advocacy groups put together lol and hey let’s face it for all their fancy rhetoric and fancier websites I ain’t seeing anything remotely tough talking from the American advocacy groups…
Look…if you think it couldn’t possibly be as bad as some of us are saying think back to your great-great granddad finishing a hard day at work and not being allowed to have a beer because of those meddling anti-fucking everything pleasurable bible thumping bastards…
It could happen to vaping and the only winners will be Big Tobacco – Big Pharma – Government tax coffers – cancer clinics and undertakers – scary but true…
You guys in America need to flood the FDA with facts and personal stories – harangue the so called advocacy groups demanding action and of course pester your politicians until someone somewhere actually does something.
Because the only epidemic in vaping I can see across the pond is apathy stupidity and idiocy from both sides of the debate.