After the recent passing of a new city ordinance banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, there was a tremendous outcry from the vaping community. Let’s Be Real San Francisco is a coalition which was created to fight the unjust prohibition, due to take place beginning April 2018, announcing the launch of their effort to gather signatures from San Francisco voters to force the Board of Supervisors to place referendum on the ballot – giving the voters the final say on whether the ordinance shall pass or not.
Let’s Be Real SF calls the ordinance a “flawed plan” claiming the ban will push sales to the underground economy. They warn that the ban could also boost sales to underage kids and will negatively impact the local economy, forcing vapers to travel to neighboring cities for their products and ultimately becoming the demise of local businesses. Essentially, they are doing their part in poking holes in this flawed and poorly thought-out ordinance, allowing residents to band together and fight for their rights to sell and purchase the products they want.
Below is a Q&A from Adults Like Flavors, they along with Not Blowing Smoke have headed the fight against flavor bans. “We hope to slow the tide of legislators at all levels of government denying science, personal liberty and less harmful alternatives to smoking. We believe more than ever that vapor products represent the single greatest opportunity for Americans to make the switch away from cigarettes.” – AdultsLikeFlavors.org
Q: What is a referendum?
A: While it’s generally understood to be a vote in some way, in this specific instance, there are a few extra bits to consider. Signatures will be gathered on a petition and submitted with a request for a referendum. Once filed, the city of San Francisco can either throw out the flavor ban, hold a special election near the end of 2017 (costing SF taxpayers millions), or add it to the July 2018 primaries ballot. It means voters, not bureaucrats, get to decide on whether the prohibition is a better alternative than allowing smokers access to safer products.
Q: If the election is July 2018 and the ordinance goes into effect April 2018, aren’t we too late?
A: No. When a referendum is filed, the ordinance being challenged is suspended until the election is over.
Q: Why not sue the city?
A: In reviewing the ordinance and applicable case law with our allied organizations and several attorneys, we do not believe litigation is a sensible strategy. While there are some who believe a lawsuit is appropriate in challenging San Francisco’s ban, we know that courts will routinely reaffirm the rights of municipal governments to pass laws they believe to be in the best interest of the public. Additionally, litigation is extremely costly; asking the California vaping industry to fund attorneys at this point for a case that could easily run well beyond November 8th, 2018 is not a prudent recommendation.
As noted above, the referendum filing will suspend the ordinance. Once that suspension occurs, any lawsuit would most likely be held over pending the outcome. We have explored several strategies with our partners and believe that a referendum not only gives us the best chance of correcting San Francisco’s mistake but will discourage other cities from taking an outdated prohibitionist approach toward vapor products.
Q: How can I help?
A: By sharing official messaging from the Let’s Be Real campaign on social media and talking about the issue of flavor bans with friends, family, and other likely voters. It’s important to note that ballot committees are a very specific beast in California. Creating your own content incorporating Let’s Be Real slogans, text or images without approval and official designation from the committee may subject you to California election reform laws, which involve reporting of efforts and funding.
Q: All the emails, calls, and attending hearings didn’t stop this from passing. Am I wasting my time?
A: Absolutely not! Having your opposition to this ordinance on record is paramount in additional action being taken after the vote was final. Not Blowing Smoke would like to thank everyone who attended hearings, meetings, and did their part online, in writing, and by making phone calls. Imagine how it would look if there was no opposition at all until after the vote.
After the grim news of the Cole-Bishop Act being snuffed out in congress, which challenged the FDA’s deeming rule by moving the grandfather date from 2007 to 2017 thus saving thousands of products that are on the market from impossibly expensive licensing process, vaping advocates now look to Rep. Duncan Hunter and his bill that could be a saving grace for the industry.
The bill which was introduced last week takes the progress that would’ve been made with the Cole-Bishop bill and takes it a step further by haulting the entire regulatory process due to go into effect in the coming months and would put many vape shops and manufacturers out of business.
“Given the current state of affairs, many are hopeful that this measure will be received positively. The Trump administration is killing many of the regulations that were set in place by the previous administration. The Surgeon General who has been incessantly campaigning against the products, has just been dismissed, while the new FDA head nominee, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, has so far maintained an open attitude towards the products.
Rep. Hunter has been an important figure in fighting for the endorsement of vaping products as harm reduction tools for smoking cessation. Last February he sent a letter to President Trump explaining how the US is doing it all wrong in over regulating the products. Additionally, only last week, Hunter wrote another letter, this time to acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley, urging him to reconsider the newly announced e-cigarette ban on US Navy vehicles.”
www.vapingpost.com / Rep. Hunter proposes a bill that exempts e-cigs from FDA’s deeming rule
In short if approved the bill presented by Hunter titled “Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act of 2017” would affect vaping in the following ways: Separates vaping from tobacco products, establishes unique regulations, presents vaping as harm reduction and changes the name of the Center of Tobacco Products at the FDA to the Center for Tobacco Products and Harm Reduction. There are also sensible regulations listed in Hunter’s bill including setting strict standards for battery safety.
On November 8th 2016 Proposition 56: California Healthcare, Research & Prevention Tobacco Tax of 2016 was voted in by California residents. The California state tobacco tax will increase from 87 cents to $2.87 per pack of cigarettes. While some can spin this as a positive for the vaping industry, claiming the new tax will force many smokers to reconsider the habit and look to vaping as a healthier and cheaper alternative as they always have the outcome might not be so positive. Since electronic cigarettes and e-liquids are considered tobacco products, the tax could affect vaping companies as well as small business and consumers of vaping products.
There are many conflicting reports as to whether the tax will only be applied to e-liquid containing nicotine or all products whether they be nicotine free or hardware. Propositions such has these shows that vaping is still being demonized and misunderstood by many organizations and medical professionals. The sole ingredients in e-liquids are propylene glycerin, vegetable glycerin, flavorings and the option if nicotine. By the ingredients alone it is apparent that vaping is far more favorable than smoking and contains none of the harmful carcinogens or chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. Which leaves us wondering why the vaping industry is still facing such claims that vaping is just as dangerous.
There are simply not enough answers to all the questions everyone in the vaping community has about what Prop 56 means for the future of the industry. Will California based companies be forced to relocate? What does the future of local vape shops look like? Could this proposition steer people away from vaping? Only time will tell. We urge you to research your local propositions and be mindful of current taxes and laws in order to speak out and fight for the industry, and if need be, adapt and find ways to continue providing products to our customers.
If you’re interested in or are already importing e-liquids and hardware to Europe you’ve likely heard of the Tobacco Product Directive, otherwise known as TPD, which is an updated version of an EU directive that was implemented in May 2016. There is, however, a grace period which allows registered previously produced non-TPD products to be sold in shops until May 20th 2017. After that point all vaping products must be compliant with the EU TPD to be imported and sold and must have been notified 6 months prior to selling. We have compiled the following information addressing all requirements that must be met from this point forward.
Under the changes refill containers and e-liquid bottles must not exceed a quantity of 10ml. Prefilled atomizers are also restricted to 2ml maximum capacity. Bottles containing e-liquid must have a 1cm long nozzle, and emit no more than 20 drops of refill liquid per minute when placed vertically OR has a docking mechanism. Dripper bottles are banned under the TPD changes. All tanks/clearomizers must undergo emissions testing. Manufacturers and importers will need to submit them to the MHRA 6 months before being put on the market.
E-liquid must be made with EU or USA pharma grade nicotine and must not have levels higher than 2%.
E-liquids need to undergo testing, including emissions testing with a submission being made 6 months before sale is allowed. The responsibility for testing and submission falls on the manufacturer and the importer. If you are importing devices/e-liquids, you will need to conduct these tests and submit notifications. Note that submissions should be made 6 months before going to market. If you are not importing or manufacturing, you will not have to conduct these tests or notify of these products.
All e-liquids packaging - this includes boxes and labels - must now carry the health warning "This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance". The warnings must appear on both front and back surfaces and cover at least 30% of its surface area as the text itself must be on a white background in black Helvetica type, centered, and in a font size that ensures the text occupies the largest possible proportion of the warning label space. As well as all ingredients and nicotine content displayed on the front of the packaging. A leaflet must be also included containing information on addictiveness, toxicity and storage.
It's been a while but do you remember the last time the FDA announced its deeming regulations that got us shitting our pants? Yah, we got something new for you. The most recent news to come from DC involves bipartisan bill from Reps Tom Cole and Sanford Bishop that is said to be a “game changer” for vapers. A little birdie said this new vaping bill has a decent chance of passing.
Stop the B.S. What is this New Vaping Bill About?
The Cole-Bishop bill is called the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017. Basically, it's the intent to change the predicate date to the day of the deeming regulations were finalized, August 8, 2016.
The original predicate date was February 15, 2007, which meant that vape companies would have to complete expensive and rigorous pre-market applications for every product, e-juice, nicotine level, etc, created after that date. The finalized deeming regulations froze a lot of product development throughout the industry and threatened to put almost all vape shops websites out of business. The new vaping bill would save all products on the market before August 8, 2016 and could quite possibly save the future of e-cigarettes.
The New Vaping Bill Protects the Industry’s Future
The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017 also sets a standard that will protect vaping companies from further attacks in the future. It includes measures involving battery safety standards and print advertising restrictions to limit exposure to kids. Cole clarifies that these measures would not be effective retroactively, which would help make sure that vape shops aren’t burdened unnecessarily.
How to Support the Vaping Bill
The stars align for this new vaping bill to be successful in saving e-cigarettes and countless jobs, let’s not forget all the infinite amount of lives in the future. As vapers in a community, now is the time, even more than ever to take charge! We need to stand together to encourage both the House and Senate to pass this bill so it will become a law that guarantees the rights of the e-cig industry and its customers. What the hell are you waiting for? Do you part by contacting your local Congress members today!
Recently, I've been noticing the crowds at the California Capitol dwindle. I've been to every meet - even if just to show support. I understand we all have businesses to run - and that's fine. If we can't start the fire, the least we can do is fuel it.
Vaping advocacy is heavy idea.Most of us in the industry are guilty of sitting back; spectating. Some of us don't know where to start.
If we can't donate time, we CAN donate money to organizations that help us. Organizations established by people that use their own time and money to make a difference, and work to change the industry for the better.
The first organization that we're hosting is NOTblowingsmoke.org
Planet of the Vapes, LLC will be donating on several fronts.
- Our eight shops across California will be asking for donations.
- Our build teams will be making pre-made coils.
- We'll be hosting an open blog for you to ask questions. If we can't find the answers, we'll make sure to ask somebody who knows.
- Once your donation is verified, we'll add your logo to the bottom of this page as a verified contributor.
100% of these funds will be used for advocacy.
Click the button below to donate directly to NOTblowingsmoke.org.
Not Blowing Smoke
263 Main Street #131
Oakley, CA 94561
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VP Sales & Business Development
Planet of the Vapes LLC