Tobacco

Will House Bill Save Vaping?

New proposal would take e-cigarettes out of ‘deeming’ rule

WASHINGTON -- The vaping industry could be looking at a brighter horizon if a new bill, expected in the U.S. House of Representatives this week, gains momentum.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is expected to submit the measure that would pull electronic cigarettes from being categorized as a tobacco product and take them out of the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s "deeming" rule, according to a Reuters report.

As a result, the products would no longer be subject to strict regulations or the new-product approval process that many consider too costly for small manufacturers to comply with.

The bill adds momentum to a series of legal and legislative efforts to derail or at least soften the effects of the FDA rule, according to Reuters, although it is unclear how much support Hunter’s bill will garner.

President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, appears to be open to the risk-reduction arguments proposed by tobacco advocates and has had financial ties to the vaping industry. Because of those relationships, he has said he will recuse himself from decisions relating to the vaping industry for at least a year.

A separate plan from Reps. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., that was reintroduced earlier this year, would exempt thousands of vaping devices currently on the market from FDA approval. The Cole-Bishop proposal is expected to be attached as a rider to Trump's spending plan, which could be voted on as early as this week, the Reuters report said. Hunter’s bill would go further.

“Cole-Bishop is like gaining the inch, and Hunter’s legislation the yard,” said Joe Kasper, Hunter’s chief of staff.

The FDA rule, which went into effect this past August, requires that any product introduced after Feb. 15, 2007, be submitted to the FDA for review within two years. Products that were on the market prior to that date are grandfathered in and do not require premarket authorization. That effectively puts all vaping products in line for review.

The FDA said it does not comment on proposed or pending legislation, Reuters reported.

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