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Is the E-Cig & Alcohol Regulatory Arena a Leveled Playing Field?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for “protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, the food supply, cosmetics and products that emit radiation.” In doing so, they monitor and regulate various industries including cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco as well as most food products and dietary supplements. Alcoholic beverages in particular are monitored by several different federal agencies including the FDA. Other agencies that also monitor and regulate various aspects of the alcohol industry include the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Although the food, alcohol and narcotic industries are regulated by different federal agencies, they all have one end-goal: to keep Americans safe and to promote innovation.

A recent Wall Street Journal article examined the alcohol industry’s booming popularity in sweet and candy-flavored alcoholic beverages. Not only does the federal government permit various flavored alcoholic beverages for public consumption, but they also allow them to be readily available at a diverse set of public places including sports events, concerts and other entertainment events. In addition, alcoholic products are also being marketed with the help of millions and billions of dollars across mass mediums including cable television channels, social media, radio and print outlets.

For many e-cigarette consumers, business owners and advocates, the playing field for the consumption and promotion of alcoholic beverages appears uneven compared to the nicotine industry. Although tobacco, nicotine and alcohol products are all legal in the United States (in limited amounts), alcohol brands are allowed to market and revolutionize their products in many ways that e-cigarettes cannot. This point alone has many wondering why one industry is allowed more freedom to promote and sell while the other is not.

Elected officials in Washington D.C. are currently taking the next few months to review the e-cigarette industry in preparation for possible regulation. During this time, many electronic cigarette advocates are concerned that certain anti e-cig groups that have proposed and encouraged e-cigarette bans will cause negative implications on the entire industry. In particular, some groups are proposing that flavored e-cigarettes become banned, except for Menthol and Tobacco flavors. This model is not random at all and is the precedent of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which bans “characterizing flavors of tobacco cigarettes.” SFATA and other e-cigarette advocates are questioning why the government would ban e-cigarettes with “characterizing” flavors but not sweet flavored alcohol products?

Although some uninformed outsiders are claiming that flavored e-cigarettes are appealing to under age users, the same argument could very well go for flavored alcoholic beverages. SFATA believes the opposite is true for this argument when it comes to the e-cigarette industry. From state regulations that prohibit minors from buying e-cigarettes in retail stores, to age verification software for online e-cigarette purchases, as well as voluntary age restrictions imposed by many e-cig vendors, there is little room for minors to access electronic cigarettes.

Many traditional tobacco cigarette users have stated that in the absence of flavored e-cigarettes, they would continue using tobacco containing cigarettes rather than its combustion free, smoke-free alternative.  By imposing a ban on various flavored e-cigarettes, the government can also potentially impair domestic and international economic growth and take away a useful product that millions of people have found to be reliable and useful.

SFATA urges elected officials and the FDA to implement common sense e-cigarette regulation in the U.S. by allowing innovation and access to this technology. SFATA believes parallels exist between the e-cig industry and the alcohol industry and calls for a judicious and cautious legislative movement by the federal government. For more e-cigarette industry tips, advice and updates, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the official SFATA Facebook Fan Page!

Contact Elected Officials to Show Your Support for the E-Cigarette Industry!

The first-ever Washington D.C. Fly-In Event on Capitol Hill is just a month away! SFATA members are gearing up for this event and are eager to meet face-to-face with the nations top lawmakers on November 4th and 5th. SFATA members primary goal for this event is to meet with various elected officials to discuss the electronic industries unique legislative needs. SFATA is attending this monumental event on behalf of all e-cigarette business owners in an effort to fight for fair regulation, with the hopes that the industry will receive sensible regulation from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) without stalling innovation and economical growth.

Now through November 5th, we urge all e-cigarette business owners and advocates to support SFATA members participating in the Fly-In by supporting each individual e-cigarette business in their home states.

To make this process easy, we have compiled a contact list of all the respected congressmen and women who represent some of SFATA’s top e-cigarette businesses.

If you live in one of the states being represented during the Fly-In, you can help Clear The Haze by calling, emailing and even posting on each representative’s social media profiles all week! Tell these congressmen and women directly how much you support the e-cigarette industry.

If you don’t live the in the state being represented, you can call, Facebook and tweet all elected officials regardless of your geographic location.

Please review the list below and reach out to each representative every day from now until November 5th!

 

Illinois’ 18th District Congressman: Aaron Schock (R)

Aaron Schock’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.6201

Email: http://schock.house.gov/contact/

Office Address: 328 Cannon House Office Building

Aaron Schock’s Official Facebook Page

Aaron Schock’s Official Twitter Page 

 

Kansas’ 3rd District Congressman: Kevin Yoder (R)

Kevin Yoder’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.2865

Email: https://yoderforms.house.gov/email-me

Office Address: 215 Cannon House Office Building

Kevin Yoder’s Official Facebook Page

Kevin Yoder’s Official Twitter Page

 

California 49th District Congressman: Darrell Issa (R)

Darrell Issa’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.3906

Email: http://issa.house.gov/contact/contact-me

Office Address: 2347 Rayburn House Office Building

Darrell Issa’s Official Facebook Page

Darrell Issa’s Official Twitter Page

 

Florida’s 24th District Congresswoman: Frederica Wilson (D)

Frederica Wilson’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.4506

Email: https://wilsonforms.house.gov/contact-form

Office Address: 208 Cannon House Office Building

Frederica Wilson’s Official Facebook Page

Frederica Wilson’s Official Twitter Page

 

California’s 5th District Congressman: Mike Thompson (D)

Mike Thompson’s Official Website

Phone: 202.2253311

Email: http://mikethompson.house.gov/contact/

Office Address: 231 Cannon House Office Building

Mike Thompson’s Official Facebook Page

Mike Thompson’s Official Twitter Page

 

California’s 38th District Congresswoman: Linda Sánchez (D)

Linda Sanchez’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.6676

Email: https://forms.house.gov/lindasanchez/webforms/tour_request.htm

Office Address: 2423 Rayburn House Office Building

Linda Sanchez’s Official Facebook Fan Page

Linda Sanchez’s Official Twitter Page

 

New York’s 5th District Congressman: Gregory Meeks (D)

Gregory Meeks Official Website

Phone: 202.225.3461

Email: https://meeks.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Office Address: 2234 Rayburn House Office Building

Gregory Meeks Official Facebook Page

Gregory Meeks Official Twitter Page

 

Connecticut’s 4th District Congressman: James Himes (D)

James Himes’ Official Website

Phone: 202.225.5541

Email: https://himes.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Office Address: 119 Cannon House Office Building

James Himes’ Official Facebook Page

James Himes Official Twitter Page

 

Oklahoma’s 1st District Congressman: Jim Bridenstine (R)

Jim Bridenstine’s Official website

Phone: 202.225.2211

Email: https://bridenstine.house.gov/contact/email-me

Office Address: 216 Cannon House Office Building

Jim Bridenstine’s Official Facebook Page

Jim Bridenstine’s Official Twitter Page

 

San Fernando Valley, CA Congressman: Brad Sherman (D)

Brad Sherman’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.5911

Email: http://bradsherman.house.gov/contact/contact-congressman-sherman.shtml

Office Address: 2242 Rayburn House Office Building

Brad Sherman’s Official Facebook Page

Brad Sherman’s Official Twitter Page

 

Hawaii’s 1st District Congresswoman: Colleen Hanabusa (D)

Colleen Hanabusa’s Official website

Phone: 202.225.2726

Email: https://hanabusa.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Office Address: 238 Cannon House Office Building

Colleen Hanabusa’s Official Facebook Page

Colleen Hanabusa’s Official Twitter Page

 

California’s 13th District Congresswoman: Barbara Lee (D)

Barbara Lee’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.2661

Email: https://lee.house.gov/contact-me

Office Address: 2267 Rayburn House Office Building

Barbara Lee’s Official Facebook Page

Barbara Lee’s Official Twitter Page

 

California’s 46th District Congresswoman: Loretta Sanchez (D)

Loretta Sanchez’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.2965

Email: https://lorettasanchez.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Office Address: 1114 Longworth House Office Building

Loretta Sanchez’s Official Facebook Page

Loretta Sanchez’s Official Twitter Page

 

Tennessee’s 6th District Congresswoman: Diane Black (R)

Diane Black’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.4231

Email: https://black.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Office Address: 1531 Longworth House Office Building

Diane Black’s Official Facebook Page

Diane Black’s Official Twitter Page 

 

Minnesota’s 5th District Congressman: Keith Ellison (D)

Keith Ellison’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.4755 & 612.522.1212

Email: http://ellison.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=36&Itemid=7

Office Address: 2244 Rayburn House Office Building

Keith Ellison’s Official Facebook Page

Keith Ellison’s Official Twitter Page 

 

Kentucky’s 3rd District Congressman: John Yarmuth (D)

John Yarmuth’s Official Website

Phone: 202.225.5401

Email: http://yarmuth.house.gov/contact-john2/

Office Address: 403 Cannon House Office Building

John Yarmuth’s Official Facebook Page

John Yarmuth’s Official Twitter Page

 

Make sure to follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page for daily updates and news regarding the electronic cigarette industry.

SFATA E-cig Advocate

SFATA’s First-Ever Fly-In Event Rescheduled For November

After the federal government officially shut down on Tuesday, October 1st at 12:01AM EST for the first time in 17 years, the Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association (SFATA) made the decision to reschedule its first-ever Fly-In Event to November 4th & 5th.

Since the House of Representatives and Senate have not been able to reach an agreement to fund the federal government and President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Washington D.C.’s elected officials focus and attention has been reassigned to finding a solution to this urgent national matter. Until elected officials agree on a budget and bill that will reinstate more than 800,000 federal jobs in the United States and fund the governments new healthcare law, SFATA members believe it is in the e-cigarette businesses best interest to postpone this event for another month. SFATA does not want to host such a monumental event in the mist of a government meltdown, as it may affect the turn out of elected officials as well as the final outcome of the entire two-day event.

Although this may come as bad news to many eager e-cigarette advocates, SFATA is looking at this as another opportunity to spread the truth about electronic cigarettes and the industries need for sensible regulation. SFATA members and e-cigarette advocates have about a month until the events new rescheduled date—in the mean time, advocates can voice their concerns about potential stifling regulation and show support and enthusiasm for the e-cigarette industry.

Over the next few weeks, pay close attention to SFATA’s blog, Twitter page and official Facebook Fan Page for informative data and calls-to-actions regarding the Fly-In event and how e-cigarette business owners and advocates can help make this event a success.

 

FDA Corrects Misleading Wall Street Journal Report Regarding the Ban on Electronic Cigarettes Online Sales

A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal caused hysteria among electronic cigarette advocates and business owners Friday afternoon as it claimed that the Food and Drug Administration was initiating a national ban on all online sales of e-cigarettes. The almost $1 Billion e-cigarette industry earns nearly half of its profits from online sales across the world, which is why so many e-cigarette users and advocates, especially manufacturers, panicked. Shortly after, the Wall Street Journal corrected the article and the FDA sent out an official email blast stating that the latest regulatory rumors were in fact just that– rumors. Mitch Zeller, the new director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products explained in the e-blast that although the FDA regularly meets with pro and anti-electronic cigarette representatives, any decisions will be made known to all interested parties simultaneously.

As the electronic cigarette industry continues to grow exponentially, the FDA has been examining the health effects that e-cig products have on users through related scientific research and advocacy groups.  As long as no health claims are made by e-cigarette brands, the industry functions with relatively little oversight and a lot of scrutiny.  SFATA, a non-profit trade association that represents E-Cigarette business owners, was established nearly two years ago to help e-cigarette business owners.  One of the non-profits goals are to create and offer sensible regulatory guidelines to the FDA with the hopes that when the government does decide to implement new regulation on the e-cig industry, it will do so logically as it makes sense to consumers and businesses.

SFATA’s Executive Director, Cynthia Cabrera, is diligently working with government officials, including the FDA, to promote logical legislation that will help the industry and not hurt it or the economy. “The e-cigarette industry understands the need for regulation, and also the need for reasonable and fair laws that will not impede on adult Americans’ rights to use e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional smoking,” Cabrera said.

To get the latest updates on future federal regulatory news regarding electronic cigarettes, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the Official Facebook Fan Page.