Throughout the last few years, regulations governing electronic cigarettes and related products (like the e-liquids or “juice” they require to function) have strengthened significantly. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule that widened their authority to regulate e-cigarettes and products as tobacco products, despite not actually containing tobacco. This is in addition to the EPA’s conclusions in 2015, stating that e-liquids and e-cigarette cartridges containing nicotine should be regulated as “acute hazardous waste” when disposed.
For e-cigarette generators or manufacturers, it’s not an ideal trajectory. It’s clear that the regulations regarding these cigarette-alternatives are only tightening with time, but what are some of the most surprising consequences?
“Unintended consequences” are believed to be a real concern.
With the FDA’s rule finalization, a countdown has begun for manufacturers. August 8, 2018, is the last date on which e-cigarettes, e-liquids and other related products that do not have FDA approval can be legally sold.
Naturally, there’s an argument that this is a positive thing, and that further regulations will ensure higher levels of consumer safety. The other side of the argument, however, is contained within a survey conducted by a research team at the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR). The research team questioned more than 9,000 electronic cigarette users in the United States, and some of the results are a bit alarming.
Almost 70 percent suggested that they might begin to source e-cigarettes and e-liquids from non-licensed vendors, which could potentially incite a black market trade. 66 percent of users claimed they would consider importing electronic cigarettes from overseas, and 65 percent said they might begin to create their own e-liquids at home. If this is the case, consumer safety would still be under threat (and perhaps a much greater threat than before).
Some states are taking regulations even further.
On July 1, 2016, Indiana enacted a law that required e-liquid manufacturers to have their facilities secured by third-party surveillance, and to submit their products to inspection by a security firm—all before going to market. While additional safety measures—again—seems like an unequivocally good thing, this new law has caused serious problems for manufacturers in Indiana.
In all of Indiana, there is actually just one security firm that is qualified to conduct this work, and that firm has elected to do business with only six electronic cigarette companies (of the almost 200 that exist in the state). Unfortunately, e-liquid companies don’t have any choice in the matter; they must work with this company. The resulting bottleneck was created entirely by the government.
Regulations haven’t only impacted what can be sold; shop owners and manufacturers must now limit what they say.
Many people claim that the usage of electronic cigarettes (or “vaping”) has allowed them to quit smoking entirely. Under the FDA’s new regulations, however, e-cigarette shop owners and manufacturers can no longer say that electronic cigarettes as a safe alternative to cigarettes, or even as a good method for quitting smoking altogether. These restrictions are meant to be similar to the limitations already in place on advertising and sales for traditional tobacco products.
The Food and Drug Administration’s new rule is being challenged by various lawsuits, but if you’re a manufacturer or store owner, it’s best to prepare to adhere to it.
If you’d like more information about e-liquid disposal and safe management, call Hazardous Waste Experts at 800-936-2311 or click here to email us.