If you’re into weed vaporizers or electronic cigarettes, this is a very exciting time. Vaporizers have been around for a while but the arrival of e-cigs has been a huge boost to the technology, because a lot of it’s very similar. A lot of pen vaporizers are almost exactly the same as an e-cigarette, and if you use both you can even get a vaporizer attachment that screws onto an e-cig in place of the atomizer.
Progress might be about to slow down though, because the Food and Drug Administration is working on a new set of rules for e-cigarettes that could also be applied to a lot of vaporizers. That’s not the intention right now – the legislation is only supposed to be aimed at e-cigs that contain nicotine – but it’s badly written and that’s going to create pressure to tighten it up.
The problem is that the regulations have been aimed at the old-style e-cigs that look like a real cigarette and don’t really suit modern refillable ones.
The worst part of the FDA rules is that they ban any device that isn’t “substantially equivalent” to one that was on sale in 2007. The idea behind this is to stop new tobacco products going on sale, but as e-cigs aren’t a tobacco product, it’s not appropriate here.
The way it’s written right now it’s also useless; modern e-cigs don’t contain nicotine unless you fill them with nicotine juice. So what’s likely to happen is lawmakers will realize that there are gaping holes in the law and they’ll push for it to be tightened up.
There’s a worrying example for them to look at, too. The European Union’s own laws cover any device, or component of a device, that can be used to vape nicotine – and that brings in all e-cigs and a lot of vaporizers.
Some people are arguing that FDA regulation is a good thing and will make products safer. It’s more likely that it will make products disappear; the FDA themselves estimate it will take 5,000 hours of work per product to complete all the paperwork. That’s 5,000 hours for every piece of hardware, every flavor and strength of e-liquid.
How many small businesses can afford to do that?
Simple – none.
Unless the FDA can be persuaded to water down the restrictions, pretty soon there’s going to be nothing left except a handful of cigalikes owned by the tobacco companies, who can afford to comply. That’s going to have an impact on vaporizer pens too.
If you vape – and it doesn’t matter what you vape – it’s vital you help show the FDA where they’re getting it wrong. They’ve extended the public consultation on their new rules twice now, so it will be open until at least August 2. You can leave your comments here, so take a few minutes to explain why closing down this technology would be a huge mistake.