Despite evidence that vape flavors are not the main driver of underage experimentation, flavors remain the target of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and well-funded special interest groups.
President Trump slowed the process to collect more information and make the best possible decision. But few in media or public health raise concerns over the ever-increasing nicotine levels of cheap, disposable vapor products pouring in from China.
The misguided war on vape flavors hasn’t slowed the mass importation of disposable 50mg to 70mg nicotine pods sold in the same stores where kids buy chips and sodas. In fact, my source at a small southeastern distributor tells me that copycat high-nicotine disposable vape bars from China are the only vapor products selling right now.
Flavor bans will destroy American companies and help the Chinese companies selling spiked nicotine pods to kids in c-stores.
Grassroots American Companies Take It On The Chin
As American companies and vape shops take the brunt of the negative PR with sales falling 30% to 70%, the Chinese nicotine merchants have reaped the rewards. The disposable vape pods are sold under a variety of brand names. There are one or two key players and dozens of copycats. They are spiked with massive amounts of salt nicotine.
Experts claim the amount of nicotine in one JUUL pod is equal to a pack of cigarettes. A JUUL pod has 0.7ml of liquid nicotine. Copycat disposable nicotine bars from China have almost twice as much nicotine in them. The average disposable pod vape has 1.2ml of liquid nicotine. Vaping two juice bars a day is as much nicotine as a four-pack-a-day smoker. The amount of nicotine being peddled to U.S. consumers and kids is shocking.
Cartels push opioids using similar tactics. Increasing the potency and selling as much as they can without regard for consequences. Unscrupulous c-store distributors put colorful high nicotine pods in every store and sell them for less than $10. You can’t tell me they are not targeting kids. Chinese nicotine pushers and their U.S. distributors are getting away with it unchallenged.
Two Sets of Laws
As the owner one of the few remaining independent American e-cig companies, we abide by laws and standards. Our customers are adult smokers with an average age of over 55. Our age verification technology is the most secure method of verifying age and cannot be fooled by a fake ID. We don’t sell to kids. In addition, we do not sell pod vapes and couldn’t if we wanted to. The FDA guidelines mandate that no new unapproved products can be sold in the United States after August 2016. None of the 50mg disposable pods were on the market in 2016. They are all illegal products.
Chinese companies making 50mg-plus salt nicotine sticks do not abide by the laws. They are adding new products by the day and shipping them to America as fast as they can make them. The competitive imbalance is bad enough. Worse, the unchecked nicotine is hooking kids.
Had the Obama FDA enforced the August 2016 rule, this mess could have been avoided. The failure to enforce FDA rules exposed our kids to the scourge of cheap, spiked nicotine pods from China.
A flavor ban will not deter sky-high salt nicotine devices. Flavor bans will only hurt law-abiding companies. Nicotine that attracts underage experimentation, not flavors. The National Youth Tobacco Survey data did not sufficiently gather the requisite information to identify the real culprit.
President Trump Can Clean Up Another Obama Mess
President Trump has long warned of Chinese trade practices. The hostile takeover of the American vaping industry by companies pushing massive doses of nicotine is a prime example of an unfair practice that is detrimental not only to American business but also to American kids. In September, the president pointed out that counterfeits are a huge problem and he is right. He is also right about concerns over a black market. There is a way to clean up another Obama mess.
Politicians and mainstream media see vaping as a monolith. All lumped in with Big Tobacco. Nothing could be further from the truth. And pending regulations must account for the differences in products and who is selling them. Destroying the independent American companies with flavor bans will help Big Tobacco and unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers.
It is imperative the FDA act on the nicotine content in vape devices. We must get cheap disposables out of the corner store where kids frequent. Banning flavors will only hurt the legitimate American businesses and will barely lay a glove on China and Big Tobacco. Vape shops can be closed and American companies shut down, but pod vapes with mega doses of nicotine will still be in every corner store where kids buy chips and soda.
Dray Moorman is the founder and CEO of Mig Vapor. After attending Texas State University, he built a number of successful companies in his business career. He started Mig Vapor almost a decade ago and built one of the largest independent American vaping companies. A former smoker himself, Dray is a life-long entrepreneur who is dedicated to the fight against smoking. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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