Fighting a campaign finance criminal investigation, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-50th District) still has time, apparently, to battle for a vice he loves: Vaping.
Hunter introduced legislation Thursday to roll back current regulations treating electronic cigarettes the same as tobacco products.
Titled the Cigarette Smoking Reduction & Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act, HR 2194, Hunter’s ode to vaping, would undo the Obama administration’s “Deeming Rule” that put vaping in the same category as smoking and tobacco products last summer.
The FDA’s deeming regulation gives it the authority to review e-cigarettes before they hit the market, requiring all products that hit stores after February 2007 to apply retroactively for approval.
Hunter’s proposed law, however, has as much chance of passing even committee hearings, as his pet rabbit flying the airplane rather than on it at campaign donor expense. But that’s par for his course.
The only legislation Hunter has passed into law was a measure he ended up voting against. That was his “sarcastic” proposal to require women to register for the draft that passed Congress,
Not only has this vape as you wish law the stink of hot air attached to it, but even hard-core vaping advocates have their doubts.
“It is unknown if the Hunter Bill has much support in Congress,” said Jim McDonald, a vaping advocate on the Vaping 360 website. “Even if Rep. Hunter gets the necessary backing to eventually get his bill through the House, approval by the closely divided Senate would be difficult. In order to engineer the rewrite of a major law like the TCA, the bill would almost certainly need the backing of some Democrats.
“While no vaper would argue against the need for rewriting the TCA, there is fear among advocates that the Hunter Bill could distract vapers and vendors from the Cole-Bishop language (or HR 1136 in its standalone form), which could be added as a rider to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (and included in an omnibus budget bill) this week.”
TCA is the Obama administration’s Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which directed the FDA to regulate vaping products. The act also changed the name of the FDA’s Center for tobacco Products to the Center Tobacco Products and Tobacco Harm Reduction.
“While no vaper would argue against the need for rewriting the TCA,” McDonald said, “there is fear among advocates that the Hunter Bill could distract vapers and vendors from the Cole-Bishop language (or HR 1136 in its standalone form), which could be added as a rider to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (and included in an omnibus budget bill) this week.”
Vaping360 spoke with representatives of several major vaping consumer and trade organizations, and they were unanimous in their belief that right now Cole-Bishop must be the main focus, McDonald said, adding. if we cannot get the predicate date in the deeming regulations modernized to allow existing products to remain on the market, businesses will begin closing in large numbers.
According to Vaping 360, other features of the Hunter Bill include:
- Requires e-liquid manufacturers to follow existing standards of the American E-liquid Manufacturers Standards Association (AEMSA) until permanent standads are created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- Requires device manufacturers to follow strict electronics and battery standards
- Requires products to have serial or lot numbers
- Authorizes the FDA to prohibit advertising and marketing to minors
- Prevents states and municipalities from defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products and creating more stringent restrictions than those in the federal rules
- Authorizes the FDA to inspect manufacturing facilities, and impose penalties on manufacturers not in compliance with rules
- Requires the FDA to rank nicotine products by comparative risk, and report to Congress on the the comparative risk
- Requires the FDA to recommend harm reduction strategies for nicotine and tobacco users.