Pelosi Lauds Dems For Killing Rider That Would’ve Saved E-Cigarette Industry From Prohibition

Guy Bentley | Research Associate, Reason Foundation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised her fellow Democrats for killing a policy rider in the omnibus spending bill that would’ve saved 99 percent of the e-cigarette industry from prohibition.

A document circulated by Pelosi’s office to her colleagues in the House of Representatives titled “Democratic Wins In The Omnibus,” listed, among other things, a rider that would’ve changed the Food and Drug Administration‘s (FDA) rules requiring all e-cigarette products released after February 15, 2007, to undergo the costly Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) process.

The document described the measure as one of the “GOP ideological riders that Democrats got removed from the omnibus.” The e-cigarette industry considered the rider of vital importance because the cost of the PMTA process for each individual product can run between $2-10 million.

Because most vaping products have come onto the market after 2007, small vaping businesses — which typically sell dozens if not hundreds of these products — will face astronomical costs to get their goods approved and will have to take them off the shelves in the meantime. As a result, 99 percent of the industry would all but end with the swipe of a pen.

But Pelosi celebrated the rider’s exclusion from the omnibus bill, declaring “No GOP Rider Providing A Big Gift to the Tobacco Industry.”

Many pro-vaping advocates took the exact opposite view, arguing the regulations will bump up the profits of tobacco companies by leaving them with a monopoly on the one percent of the market still left in tact.

Republican lawmakers were exasperated by their rivals’ obstinance. “This is important to me because I vape, that’s how I planned to quit smoking,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter of California. “This is a BS deal,” Hunter added.

After the rider was scrapped, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association said the fight to save e-cigarettes wasn’t over but said, “we are anticipating many threats to consumer access to e-cigarettes and other low-risk, smoke-free products at the state and local levels.”

“There are millions of vapor consumers in the US, all of whom must become engaged if we hope to preserve access to these life-saving products.”

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Guy Bentley

Research Associate, Reason Foundation

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