Letter From the Executive Director
With the new regulatory landscape for vapor products upon us, many in our industry see this change as a threat to our livelihoods. Truly, we have some work to do in order to secure a more reasonable pathway through advocacy, as well as assuring our companies keep up with new compliance and reporting requirements so that they can sustain sales while we push for proper regulation of these products.
That said, however, there have been many promising developments that point to a bright future for our industry.
Consider the fact that the U.K. government has assessed the public health risk of vapor products and is now covering them under their national health service for their citizens. Similarly, the Royal College of Physicians, one of the world’s leading medical associations, spoke very favorably about vaping in a recent report.
Albeit slowly, a positive shift is occurring that is translating into results like these and beyond.
H.R. 2058, a bill that will change the “predicate date” to August 8, 2016, now has 77 co-sponsors with bi-partisan backing, which signals growing support for our industry’s plight. Similar legislation called the “Cole-Bishop Amendment,” passed the House Appropriations Committee and could be headed to a vote by the end of the year, if our representatives will impress upon their leadership the importance of this issue.
Modernizing this predicate date is hugely important because the current law will otherwise force every product off the market that wasn’t being sold in 2007. The new FDA regulations recently imposed on vapor products inherited this date from the underlying tobacco law and didn’t update it for modern-day products. New products deserve a new date! It is common sense, really, since vapor products as we know them today, weren’t sold commercially in the U.S. in 2007, so EVERYTHING will become illegal if this isn’t changed.
We believe, with a united effort across the country to spread the word, that our representatives in Congress will recognize this unrealistic predicate date for our industry and deliver us an eleventh hour “save” by making this simple common sense correction to the law. Updating this predicate date keeps our products legal and allows for meaningful regulation to continue to be pursued and enforced.
More work, of course, still needs to be done. Our industry is undergoing a massive transformation, and so is SFATA, as we look toward the future. We are retooling, doing some redirecting of resources, streamlining, organizing, automating, and realigning our priorities internally to better meet the demands of this new reality our members presently face.
Your “New SFATA” is building coalitions with other industry groups to gather support from key influencers outside our industry and to ensure passage of key legislation that will give vapor products a lifeline to survive and thrive in this new regulatory landscape. There is strength in numbers. And, we are going to work with anyone who is working toward our goals!
We all have a vested interest in this great industry and must fight together to ensure its survival and growth. If you are vaper or a vapor business, it is imperative that you get involved. But you don’t have to do it alone, and that’s where SFATA comes in to connect you to the rest of the coalition, train you, equip you with information, and work right alongside you until this important task is done.
While we all may be tired of the many battles we’ve endured thus far and those yet to come, together, combining our resources and the benefits of a national trade organization like ours, we can chart a new course—one that already is starting to make inroads to positively shape the future of the vapor industry for years to come.