PRESS RELEASE – FDA REGULATIONS
LOUISIANA VAPING ASSOCIATION REACTS TO PROPOSED FDA REGULATIONS ON INDUSTRY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 9, 2016
SOURCE: LOUISIANA VAPING ASSOCIATION
MEDIA CONTACT: BRIAN TRASCHER, 504.645.5781, [email protected]
New Orleans, LA – The Louisiana Vaping Association (LAVA), a retail and manufacturing trade organization promoting the vaping industry, reacted harshly to proposed regulations rolled out by the Food and Drug Administration last week. LAVA believes that if the rules go into effect after the FDA’s standard 90 day waiting period, it could spell the end of the young vaping industry.
LAVA is made up of retail shops across Louisiana who employ thousands of full time workers. Finding a way to turn a lifestyle into a small business, many of these shops have sprung up in nearly every parish over the last several years. Calling the proposed regulations a “massive overreach,” LAVA President Chris Flowers went on to say that the Vaping industry has been targeted by the government on behalf of large tobacco companies as well as pharmaceutical companies who have a financial interest in seeing the industry fail. “Big tobacco has their own vaping products, and they simply want to eliminate the blossoming marketplace of independent shop owners. Big pharma, on the other hand, sees vaping as a threat to the smoking cessation drugs they manufacture.”
LAVA Secretary and owner of Big Chief Vapors in Chalmette, LA Heather Hutton said that it was unfair for the vaping industry to have its products and accessories to be labeled as tobacco products when they were designed to help tobacco users escape that unhealthy dependency. “Vapor products are the most effective smoking cessation tools on the market today,” said Hutton, “The loss of this industry would be catastrophic to public health and cost billions of taxpayer dollars without these vapor alternatives on the market.”
LAVA is not only concerned about the devastating effects of the proposed FDA rules on Louisiana businesses, but nationwide. Flowers said that for vapor product manufacturers, a pre-market tobacco application could run anywhere from $300,000 to $1M per product created. This would essentially leave the big tobacco companies as the only manufacturers who could afford to participate while the small businessman is left out.
LAVA isn’t opposed to all of the proposed FDA rules, such as prohibiting sales of vapor products to persons under 18 years of age. Louisiana already has such a law, as do 47 other states nationwide. They are also unopposed to having child protective packaging, most of the labeling requirements, as well as restrictions on the way their products are advertised. But the FDA proposes that products containing nicotine or not, as well as hardware and even software in these devices, to be physically labeled as tobacco products and treated as such. Vapor product businesses are already adjusting from a cigarette tax passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2015 which lumped vapor products in with other tobacco products for the sole purpose of taxation.
LAVA has retained the New Orleans-based lobbying firm Gulf South Strategies to lead their advocacy efforts both in Louisiana and at the federal level. The group plans to ask Congress to intervene before the proposed FDA rules are implemented, and has not ruled out legal action against the FDA.