We recently informed you that Donald Trump had sacked the Obama appointed surgeon general, Vivek Murthy who was anti-vaping. This was a step forward for vaping in the states and it could be set to take another stride towards victory.
Senator Duncan Hunter has made a regulatory foray into Congress, with his own vaping bill in the hope that it will make obsolete the FDA’s deeming regulations.
Hurrah! You may think, another one! But as usual folks… let’s dig a little deeper into all this and find out what’s really going on.
The Bill, which currently has no number, is called the Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act. The aim of which is to modify the Tobacco Control Act, (yes, THAT sacred cow) and have vaping regulated outside of tobacco. This is an incredible goal and one that would benefit the entire vaping community.
But, who is he? Who is Duncan Hunter? And why has he done this?
Some of you may remember him for vaping in the Senate back in February of last year.
He is a vaper, with his reason for vaping being that he doesn’t want to go back to smoking.
According to Wikipedia (so some caution needed here) the day after 9/11 he quit his job and joined the Marines. He has completed 3 tours of Afghanistan/Iraq. He became the first combat veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan to serve in the U.S. Congress
He succeeded his father as Senator, taking over his Father’s seat in San Diego in 2009. He is a staunch Republican, but, and it’s a big but… is currently under criminal investigation of fraud; for the misuse of campaign funds. He is alleged to have used $60’000 for personal and family use. He has paid this sum back, but is still under investigation.
We tell you this, a) because we believe in sharing all the facts, and despite being a vaping advocate it doesn’t automatically elevate him to Sainthood, and b) this alleged criminal investigation may become an issue and come back to bite him in the proverbial.
In Congress, Hunter has focused on military, foreign affairs and veteran’s issues. He serves on the Armed Services, Education and the Workforce and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, chairing the Transportation Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
Now, some vaping sites are questioning if Hunter’s bill is a distraction from the Cole/Bishop, which should be heard and voted upon as early as next week. Others are saying it could be divisive, as in are you for Cole/Bishop OR Hunter?
The reality is both bills can and might benefit vaping – but again, you the vaper will have to take some action, but more on that at the end of the post.
So, what is he asking for in his bill? And why could it be seen as a distraction?
After quoting much of the pro-vaping information, i.e. the Royal College of Physicians, that vaping is not a gateway to smoking etc., Hunter is proposing a bill that includes harm reduction and safety.
SEC. 3. PURPOSES OF THE FAMILY SMOKING PREVENTION 5 AND TOBACCO CONTROL ACT. Section 3 of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (21 U.S.C. 387 note) is amended by amending paragraph (9) to read as follows: ‘‘(9) to promote— ‘‘(A) cessation to reduce disease risk and the social costs associated with tobacco-related diseases; and ‘‘(B) harm reduction strategies; and’’. SEC. 4. REGULATION OF ELECTRONIC VAPOR PRODUCTS. (a) CENTER FOR TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION.—Section 901(e) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 387a(e)) is amended— (1) in the subsection heading, by striking ‘‘CENTER FOR TOBACCO PRODUCTS’’ and inserting ‘‘CENTER FOR TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION’’.
Hunter also wants to bring in regulation and standards for e-cigarettes, including battery safety, short circuit protection and discharge monitoring.
At this stage, it is an unknown. He needs to get the Bill into Congress, he then needs to garner support, and this will be no mean feat as it will mean amending the Tobacco Control Act ( TCA). He will need cross party support, and he will need some big friends with deep pockets, as there are many vested interests in the TCA that won’t like some vaping vet coming along and upsetting the apple cart.
There will be much discussion around the issues of harm reduction, the technical aspects of standards etc., but most importantly, this bill will not get through fast enough to rescue the Industry from the FDA.
At TW, we are not politicians, nor are we particularly Machiavellian in thought, but a lot in the vaping world is currently riding on just a few horses. To have another horse enter the race can be no bad thing, even if that particular race is yet to be run.
Is it a distraction? Will representatives think to themselves as they ponder the Cole/Bishop amendment, let’s leave that because Hunter has a bill coming in? Let’s hope not. Will vapers stop applying pressure to their representatives re Cole/Bishop, a very important part in getting it through? Again, let’s hope not.
Cole Bishop could become law within weeks, the Industry needs this, now, because the Hunter bill will take years. The industry doesn’t have years. Let’s hope they see the Hunter bill as extra evidence that the deeming regulations are misguided and draconian, and it helps them to vote through Cole/Bishop.
Getting Cole/Bishop passed would change the predicate date and give the Industry room to breathe and importantly, keep it going. Business could stay open, and people will keep their jobs. This is the number one focus right now for activists. Cole/Bishop is in Congress, it does have support and is a real ‘thing’. Hunter’s doesn’t even have a number – however, it could be a backup if Cole/Bishop fails, and it could be a follow on, should Cole/Bishop succeed.
Either way, this bill could be good for the vaping industry if it gets where it needs to go.