Vaping Industry Calls on Congress to Create Meaningful Market Reform

Independent Vaping Retailers and Manufacturers Join Forces to Shed Light on Recent Health Claims and Call for Action

WASHINGTON, Oct. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NetworkWire -- More than 600 independently-owned vaping retailers and manufacturers released a white paper today formally responding to CDC claims about the link of e-cigarettes and recent illnesses and deaths, while also outlining specific solutions to address the recent increase in youth vaping. One immediate solution, according to the coalition, is to limit flavors to lower nicotine products sold through adult-only retail establishments.

“Although state health departments and the FDA have continued to link recent respiratory illnesses with illegal THC use, the CDC reports did not adequately differentiate between THC and nicotine vape even though they are completely different industries,” said Sam Salaymeh, President of AMV Holdings, one of the largest U.S. vaping retailers. “The failure of the CDC to demand THC screening of patients who refuse to admit to such use is irresponsible and dangerous. This oversight has caused wide-spread panic among consumers and government policy makers and negatively impacted public health. We are now seeing people go back to traditional smoking and a significant reduction in the rate of smokers who adopt nicotine vaping for harm reduction. The entire nicotine vaping industry, which has helped millions transition away from combustible cigarettes over the past decade without resulting in severe respiratory illnesses, is suffering severe economic hardship. We have had to shut down many stores and lay off more than 15% of our workforce due to the actions of drug dealers selling contaminated THC cartridges. That should not happen in a country founded on freedom and justice.”

The group of retailers also strongly defended the use of flavors in the industry, which have existed worldwide for over a decade. “These state emergency flavor bans are an attempt to curb youth initiation and are not connected to the recent respiratory illnesses. The acceleration of youth consumption only became an epidemic in the last two years along with the increased popularity of easily concealed high-nicotine devices,” said Salaymeh. “This trend closely follows JUUL’s growth and market penetration. For years, low-nicotine flavors have been used without issue by adults to transition from combustible cigarettes to vaping. We believe flavors are not the root cause of the youth uptake. Rather, it is the attempt to achieve the ‘buzz’ from concealable high-nicotine products that is the driving factor of this problem.”

The white paper outlined specific solutions for our policy makers to address this “youth epidemic.”

  1. Limit flavors to lower nicotine products sold through adult-only age-verified retailers. As our research shows, flavors are not the underlying cause of the “youth epidemic.” However, flavors combined with high nicotine strengths and discreet devices can increase youth initiation. We recommend limiting flavors to lower nicotine concentrations (30mg/ml and below) sold through adult-only age-verified retailers.
  2. Examine nicotine strength and risk profiles. The acceleration of youth vaping is highly correlated to the growing popularity of high nicotine concentration products, particularly 50mg/ml. A nicotine-level restriction has proven lower youth adoption rates in other countries, where non-tobacco flavors remain available.
  3. Encourage manufacturers to build age verification tools into all hardware. Discreet devices are a powerful tool for adult consumers; however, when combined with high nicotine concentrations, they also have the youngest customer age demographic. For hardware devices commercially marketed prior to August 8, 2016, we recommend the FDA waive enforcement action to allow for the addition of age verification software on these devices.

“According to the FDA, the adverse health effects from tobacco use cause more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States,” said a representative from Aqueous. “As vape store business owners, we have seen first-hand how vaping has helped many Americans reduce their smoking habit or quit altogether. Many of us founded our companies on this mission. We urge Congress and the media to examine all of the facts on this issue for the future of public health.”

To read the entire industry white paper:

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Lindsey Giannini
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