As the vaping industry grows, government oversight grows just as much. States wasted no time in beginning to crack down on vaping sales and vaping in public. Most states put age restrictions on the purchase and sale of e-cigarettes and vape pens. Many require special licenses and permits for vape shops. This industry is being scrutinized and regulated more and more as time goes by, when vaping first started to become popular you couldn’t walk down a high street without see a buy your vape pen here sign in a store window but now there are stricter rules and guidelines as to who can sell them the majority of vape merchants are online sellers, you can’t blame business owners from not wanting to open a store, taking out a lease comes with it’s own risks as you never know when the laws are going to change again which could have a devastating effect on their business leaving them with a lease on a store that they can no longer afford.
However, the federal government was not content allowing the states to each handle issues of vaping and vape sales without additional oversight. Despite the majority of states enacting their own limitations and regulations, the FDA decided that it was not good enough, and that they would have to take matters into their own hands.
Earlier this week, the FDA imposed additional regulations on vape shops. The FDA determined that e-cigarettes and vape pens are “tobacco products,” meaning they can no longer be sold to people under the age of 18. Retailers must now verify a person’s age via their state-issued identification in order to sell them the products. The FDA also announced that now they will be testing and evaluating new vape products before they may be sold. Additionally, new vaping manufacturers will have to register with the FDA and place warning labels on their product packaging.
Proponents of these measures believe that public health is negatively affected by vape products, and Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, says that the FDA may now, “Rein in an unscrupulous industry.” However, these new FDA standards may very well kill a thriving industry, and they are further infringing on an individual’s right to put whatever they wish into his or her own body. Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, put out a statement, which in part says, “The bad news is that August 8th of this year marks the beginning of a two-year countdown to FDA prohibition of 99.9%+ of vapor products on the market.”
There are conflicting studies on the health implications of vaping. According to many studies, vaping is far less harmful than smoking cigarettes or cigars. Since gaining popularity, many people have stopped smoking cigarettes entirely, opting for the cleaner, healthier habit of vaping.
All of this is beside the point, however. Regardless of the potential dangers or benefits of vaping, the FDA should not be allowed to arbitrarily step in and steal authority from individuals to choose what they put into their own bodies. Additionally, advocates of small government who believe that regulations should be handled by the most local level possible should be outraged that, although states were handling the issues on their own, the FDA still decided to enact measures that would harm small businesses, and potentially drive people back to the more destructive habit of smoking cigarettes.
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