The eJuices.co team has been looking at expertise from a sales and marketing perspective, but many store owners may be unaware of what they might have to do from a legal and regulatory perspective. To help your store succeed in 2020 and to anticipate any legal or regulatory changes that may happen in the world of vape in 2020, we sat down with eJuices.co Chief Compliance Officer David “DJ” VanSambeek.
2020 will be an interesting year for vape. There's a new FDA commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, and he said he would follow the "science and evidence" on vaping. Is his tenure going to be favorable to vapers? Why or why not?
That is the question everyone is asking. But the real question is if Dr. Hahn is going to do what is appropriate for public health. That is the mandate for the FDA. Following the “science and evidence” will likely lead the new FDA commissioner to the same conclusions that have been reached in numerous studies and the Royal College of Physicians. The FDA knows that vaping can provide adult smokers with the viable alternative they need to cigarettes. Many of us in the industry are shocked to see that the FDA still hasn’t publicly recognized that these products provide adults with the “offramp” necessary to end Big Tobacco’s stranglehold on the American public. We are optimistic that Dr. Hahn will come to the same conclusion that hundreds of other health professionals have already realized, ultimately treating vape products as the important technology product that they are.
In 2019, some states had outright flavor bans overturned, but other states are looking at taxing vape products in 2020. Do you think they will go the taxation route?
This is a tougher issue. Many states already have a taxing system implemented. However, most of these taxing statutes are poorly drafted as a result of the state legislature's poor understanding of the vape industry. This can cause confusion within the industry. Nevertheless, there is one constant theme in all government, namely they want tax dollars. States are always seeking funding for their enormous budgets and endless projects. Unfortunately, special taxes on vape products seem to be an evil that we will have to endure. But we should all take action to inform and educate the legislature about vape products and the vape industry. Hopefully, with accurate information our lawmakers will be better armed to draft coherent, applicable statutes.
Dr. Hahn has been more vocal about CBD, saying he is interested in knowing more about appropriate dosing and its long-term effects. Will that help stores that want to sell CBD?
Yes! The CBD industry as a whole has been eagerly anticipating the FDA to implement a reasonable science-based regulatory scheme for CBD products. Moreover, Congress is continuing to push the FDA to clearly define the legal CBD marketplace. Here is a letter sent by 26 members of Congress to the FDA requesting an expedited framework for CBD products. If you have a storefront and are considering adding CBD to your product offerings, now is the time to get started. I am hopeful that our new FDA Commissioner will act swiftly to clearly define a roadmap for CBD products, and those that are ready to take action stand the best chances for success.
From a regulatory and legislative perspective, what advice do you have for vape shops and retail establishments for the coming year?
The most important action any vape shop can take right now is to get involved with the regulatory process. Call the White House, call your Senators, call your Representatives. Make your voice heard. Contact your local vape association or one of the larger national associations and find out how you can help. Over the last few months, the media has spread false stories connecting nicotine vaping to injuries suffered by victims that used elicit THC cartridges. Unfortunately, the vape industry must now go out and dispel those false narratives, lest the lawmakers take action against the wrong party. Make your voice heard and let the truth be known!
That’s all for our Ask The Expert segment on eJuices.co! If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact your eJuices.co account manager or sales representative.