Mr. President, on Friday, November 22 you invited a range of stakeholders to a White House meeting on vaping
. Thank you for taking the time to gather as much information as possible in order to make the best possible decision to protect kids, jobs, and access for adult smokers.
Sir, you patiently listened to a variety of voices in a wide-ranging and sometimes heated contest of ideas. However, Mr. President, the most important information that you need to know was not discussed. There was an elephant in the room that no one told you about. I will tell you the truth.
The primary cause of the surge in underage vaping experimentation is the plague of 50mg and higher nicotine pods. If you look at the numbers, the underage past 30-day use increased from 11% in 2017 to 28% in 2019. Flavors have been around for 12-years. So what changed in the last two years?
The answer is the widespread distribution of high dose 50mg+ nicotine pods. Basically, crack level nicotine. Particularly the JUUL, counterfeits, and disposables. In fact, counterfeits and disposables penetrating the U.S. market are attributable to Chinese product dumping, a problem you identified years ago. In this case, dumping pod vapes kids can buy for under $10. China sells to the U.S. without oversight.
China is shipping millions of cheap, high-nicotine counterfeits to the U.S.
Pharma companies competed to make the strongest opiate to increase sales, now look at the crisis. JUUL, China, and many others are playing the same game with nicotine. Cap it at 24mg sir, and stop this madness. Both the EU and Israel capped nicotine after JUUL’s introduction into their markets.
It’s not about flavors. It is the instant nicotine “buzz” from 50mg salt nicotine. Just for perspective, sir, before 50mg came along, the highest nicotine sold was 24mg. Today, there are cheap, disposable 50-70mg nicotine pods sold in every corner store from Anchorage to Key West.
At the meeting held on November 22, Mr. Myers from Tobacco-Free Kids was the loudest voice for banning flavors. At one point in the discussion, Myers said that when JUUL pulled mango flavor off the shelves, kids switched to mint flavors. What Mr. Myers said disproves his own argument. Banning mango did not help because flavors are irrelevant. Underage users switched to another flavor because it is all about the instant buzz-high from 50-70mg salt nicotine.
Mr. President, we once crossed paths in the casino business, which is a highlight of my entrepreneurial career. I retired from my slot machine business and started an e-cig company to help others switch as I did. Now we employ dozens of people in Florida and serve thousands of 55+ adults with an alternative to cigarettes. I know the vapor industry inside and out.
Sir, bring me in for a meeting with yourself, the First Lady, Kellyanne Conway, and Ivanka. I will tell you the truth and show you proof. The fact that was avoided in the first meeting by everyone.
Mr. President, I will show you devices that Chinese companies are selling in the United States. Colorful, 50mg-70mg pod vapes. They look nothing like cigarettes. A doctor can monitor my blood pressure as I vape a 50mg pod. There will be a big spike in pressure and a definite nicotine buzz within seconds.
I would also like to discuss solutions. We can fix this. Here are just a few suggestions of steps we can take to reverse the underage vaping trend:
- Must be 21 to purchase
- Limit of 24mg nicotine nationwide (Europe has a 20mg limit)
- Limit e-cigarettes to adult-only specialty vape shops and online sites with age verification
- Ban counterfeit products from China and all sales of devices designed after 2016 as per FDA
- Allow only registered American companies to import vapor products
- Change PMTA process to match the more sensible EU model
We can stop all of this at the border and ports of entry with CBP, sir. We also need to require state-of-the-art age verification. For example, my Mig Vapor uses a multi-layered online age verification process with AI. A fake ID will not fool AI age verification technology. By limiting nicotine, cracking down on China, and putting sensible regulation in place you can solve all of these problems.
On a personal note, I want to thank you, the First Lady, as well as Kellyanne and Ivanka for taking on this issue. This is important. I smoked 3 packs a day! The majority of smokers started in their teens. The First Lady’s concerns are dead-on, and we can do something about it. We can bring the American vaping community, vaping voters, and parents together to create the real solution now.
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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