representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) is a legislative proposal to the 116th Congress targeting the eLiquid and vape world with taxation, flavor bans, and online age verification. While on it's face it sounds mostly terrible, nobody is trying to sell to minors, nobody wants restricted choice of products, and nobody is trying to avoid being taxed. Let's take a look at this bill on it's three legs of over reaching attempt at governance.
The current proposed legislation will of course have several unintended consequences, because as we've seen from most of our countries history, anytime the government steps in to help, they usually end up doing the opposite. The bill seeks to classify e-cigarettes and vapes as tobacco products under the Internal Revenue Code by expanding the federal cigarette excise tax to cover eLiquids and vapes. Currently e-cigarettes aren’t taxed as traditional combustible cigarettes.
This bill will also amend the benchmark Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, which is the founding law of the FDA, to ensure that vaping tax revenues go to federal tobacco control initiatives. You know because the truth initiative has been such a success at getting people to quit that there's been an "epidemic" of vaping going around lately. This legislation would also place vapes and e-cigarettes among some of the most expensive “sin” products in some areas of the United States, depending on state and local regulations.
The biggest concern in the tax area is really the mystery of what exactly will be taxed, because at this point we just don't know. Will they tax eLiquds? Most definitely. But what about devices? Coils? Pods? Batteries? Chargers?
This bill takes an incredibly aggressive stab by changing the law to ban the sale and manufacture of ALL eLiquid flavors unless manufacturers can prove to the FDA it meets the following three insane criteria. The flavor Help adults quit smoking cigarettes, it does not increase youth initiation of nicotine or tobacco products, and it does not increase the risk of harm to the person using the flavor. These criterion aren’t further defined anywhere in the bill.
Any regulation aimed at reducing underage vaping should be backed by industry and opposing stakeholders. This current approach in the legislation does not accomplish that because it targets exactly the products popular among current legal consumers. This threatens the satisfaction and harm reduction benefits of e-cigarettes, defeating one of the three criterion, making any attempt at proving to the FDA impossible.
This bill would also ban cigar flavorings all together since there is no public health benefit to smoking cigars.
Online Age Verification.
DeLauro’s regulations include mandatory age verification for online storefronts and companies with extensive e-commerce operations. The legislation will mandate companies to identify and verify purchaser age through approved ID databases, which nearly industry wide everyone is already doing. No big deal there.
What is the big deal is that it will also mandate companies to develop delivery methods that verify age upon delivery of a product. The end goal is to prevent the United States Postal Service from carrying vapes products in normal mail circulation. This again, directly impacts current legal consumers heavily, imposing private couriers, requiring them to check ID and verify age would be an insanely expensive industry to be created.
All of this raises prices for consumers, results in less availability for an effective smoking cessation for those trying to quit combustible smokes, and will entirely disrupt the world of vape as it currently operates.
It also positions JUUL, recently cash infused from tobacco giant Altria, to take a monopoly position in the market. If you like your vape world as it currently stands, reach out to your representatives and let them know this is a terribly backward, pro big tobacco, anti-consumer, bill.