New Orleans Vapers to Find Limited Flavor Selection
Heads up, vapers. Your favorite e-juices may soon be disappearing from shelves. That's because new FDA regulations, which are designed to prevent e-juice companies from creating and marketing the candy-like flavors that appeal to children, went into effect last fall. Every e-cigarette company must now get FDA approval for every product it sells.
It sounds like a well-intentioned plan, but the reality could take a toll on small businesses, since the process of getting FDA approval is long, complex, and prohibitively expensive (we're talking millions).
What does this mean for you, the vape community, and your favorite New Orleans smoke shop? Keep reading to find out.
What is a PMTA?
A Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) is a document that tobacco retailers must submit to the FDA to receive approval for their products and legally sell them in the U.S. Last fall, the government began requiring an application for all tobacco products created after 2007, which pretty much includes all vaping products. The FDA is now reviewing applications from every vape company that could afford to submit one, which means that some are getting rejected ... and those companies may be going out of business.
How the Process Will Affect New Orleans Vapers
The application process definitely has the potential to be a huge blow to the vaping community. While small e-liquid manufacturers have been the creative force and economic engine of the U.S. vaping industry, they aren't benefiting from the PMTA process. In fact, the complicated, expensive PMTA requirements will force many of these small companies to close.
Plus, vaping products were just added to the PACT Act (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act), which prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from shipping tobacco products to consumers, among other provisions. This would affect online sales to consumers (but fortunately, it will have less impact on brick-and-mortar retailers like the Mushroom).
What should vapers expect?
Unfortunately, some of your favorite e-juices may disappear from retailers' shelves in the coming months, as flavored products become harder to acquire. Since the bar for FDA approval is very high (thanks in part to lobbying by tobacco mogul Philip Morris), it's prohibitively expensive and difficult for small American vape manufacturers to comply with its requirements. "More conservative cost estimates from the FDA range from $117,000 to $466,000. No application, no legal sales. Application rejected, no legal sales," states a Reddit thread's TL;DR.
Each company would have to test each individual item in every possible device (or combination of atomizer and mod) on the market, prepare a PMTA for each item, and submit the applications to the FDA. If you've been to a vape shop, you know how vast the offerings can be -- the research and analysis of each PMTA could cost literally millions of dollars.
Then the FDA would have to deem every single combination of device and flavor "appropriate for the protection of public health." Huge companies with giant research budgets can comply with these requirements, but the local e-juice purveyors? Not so much.
What can you do?
So, what can vapers do in a system that seems stacked against them? Knowledge is power, so be aware of the FDA and its enforcement of PMTAs. Be vocal in your support of small e-juice companies ... and support them with your dollars, too. Yes, product lines may be greatly reduced, but there will (hopefully) still be some delicious, creative e-juices out there.
Don't forget that here at the Mushroom, we have a vast selection of vapes, coils, e-juices ... just about every accessory from the best brands out there. Stop by anytime between 10 a.m. and midnight and chat PMTA developments (or just check out some tunes). See you soon!