There’s no denying that sales of vapor pens designed to be used in place of tobacco cigarettes is booming. Not only do you now see ecig products being used widely when you’re out and about, but hookah pen products are showing up in popular culture everywhere from awards shows to TV series like “House of Cards.” As electronic cigarette usage continues to rise, the federal government has begun to consider whether or not regulations are needed to control the sale of vapor pens. This has mobilized lobbyists for ecig manufacturers who hope to be able to provide input during the regulating process.
The Booming ECig Industry
The vape pen industry is currently estimated to be worth about $1.7 billion, and analysts predict that the industry will only continue to grow over the next decade as more people begin to use hookah pen products. Some ecig companies are owned by the same companies that manufacture tobacco cigarettes, such as Reynolds American, which makes both Camel and Winston cigarettes and the VUSE vapor pen. These companies have a tremendous amount of financial resources available to them, and have the ability to hire lobbyists to make sure their interests are well represented in Washington.
Spreading the Word about Vapor Pens
Ordinarily, Washington lobbyists target lawmakers to further the interests of the industries that they represent, but electronic cigarette lobbyists are taking a different approach. The lobbyists are more interested in reaching out to federal regulators who will be responsible for deciding what restrictions, if any, are placed on the sale of vaporizer pens. Lobbyists are determined to ensure that the voice of the electronic cigarette industry is heard and that vapor pen products are evaluated fairly as the FDA considers potential regulations.
Where Regulators and Electronic Cigarette Lobbyists Agree
Regulators and the electronic cigarette industry do share similar beliefs, including:
– A general belief that vaporizer pens are safer than tobacco. The FDA has already stated that using an ecig is likely better for users than smoking. The issue for the administration is whether or not electronic cigarette products are being sold responsibly.
– An agreement that ecig products should not be sold to minors. Lobbyists have stated that the industry is in favor of regulations that help prevent people who are underage from purchasing and using hookah pen electronic cigarettes. Most electronic cigarette manufacturers comply with the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act, which prohibits marketing tobacco products to children.
Still, there are no specific laws preventing e-cigarettes from being marketed to children. Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would make it illegal to do so. So far industry lobbyists seem to be in favor of the legislation sponsored by four Democrats.
Only time will tell how the efforts of lobbyists will shape the debate over regulating electronic cigarette products. Consumers who want to weigh in can contact the FDA and their U.S. Senators and Congressman to share their opinions.