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Tags: vaping | china | counterfeit | flavors

Vaping: China Is the Real Problem

Vaping: China Is the Real Problem
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2019. Trump on Wednesday announced his administration was considering a ban on flavored vaping products, amid a growing outbreak of severe lung disease in the U.S. that has claimed at least six lives. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 12 September 2019 04:15 PM EDT

I am a lifelong entrepreneur. It all started selling mattresses outside a Walmart. Sam Walton himself gave me permission. Some years later I had the opportunity to speak to another business icon, Donald Trump. While I was not able to enter into a deal with Mr. Trump, he was gracious and encouraging. But here I was, a hard working kid from Texas endeavoring to build a business and early in my career I had the opportunity to learn from two icons. Only in America.

When I found vaping, this life-long smoker instantly saw the potential. The FDA recognizes the potential positives of e-cigarettes as well. But banning flavors will only undermine any potential efficacy of vaping. Above all, flavors are not the problem. In fact, President Trump, one of your signature concerns is partly behind underage vaping. Your instincts were on the mark. China’s unfair trade practices are a direct contributor to increased teen vaping.

The two most significant contributors to the rise in underage vaping are:

  1. Chinese Manufacturers Dumping Product on the U.S. Market — Some of the best and most responsible e-cigarette manufacturers in the world are in a small industrial park in Shenzhen, China. But all told, there are about 600 factories in that same industrial park making e-cigs. Many, if not most, make cheap and counterfeit devices and sell them to Americans with impunity. The product dumping includes millions of unregistered, high-nicotine disposable vape sticks, which only look like JUUL, that our kids are buying at the corner store for $10 or less.
  2. 5 MG Salt Nicotine — It is not the flavors, it is the nicotine. The disposable JUUL look-alike, colorful pods are very high in nicotine content. While some adult smokers enjoy 5 mg, we find most adults use 2.4 mg or less. The sky high nicotine level should be better regulated. Not flavors. In Europe, they have limited nicotine levels.

The tariffs on Chinese products imported into the United States have had little impact on product dumping. The less-scrupulous factories and counterfeiters view tariffs as an opportunity to further undercut legitimate operators. After all, there are manufacturers in China always ready to accept the challenge of cutting another corner to make something even cheaper.

JUUL Labs and Mig Vapor are examples of American companies that have developed advanced vapor products for adult smokers. Both have registered with the FDA and filed the PMTA applications for tobacco products. Mig Vapor offers e-cigs that look like cigarettes to adult smokers. However, the e-cig market is coming to be dominated by cheap, low-quality, high-nicotine vapor products dumped on the U.S. market.

New pod vape devices are constantly being released and sold in the United States. The FDA regulations state that no new vapor products developed after August 2016 can be sold in the U.S. unless approved. But this rule is not being followed. There is no impediment to dumping these devices in America. This is where the enforcement needs to occur. Punishing adult smokers and American companies is not the answer.

It has been a bad few weeks for the American vaping community. We have been blamed for underage vaping and black market THC oil. The tragic incidents of lung illness resulting from smoking contaminated THC oil made by street dealers has been inappropriately blamed on vaping.

THC oil is made using butane and other toxic solvents. The amateur chemists do not filter out contaminants. There are YouTube videos demonstrating how to make homemade THC oil. Some have used toxic vitamin E acetate as a thickening agent. It is a dangerous situation. Cheap Chinese oil cartridges, some of which have tested positive for lead, are being used by street THC makers. No one should buy or sell black market THC oil. That goes without saying. But smoking street-made THC oil is not vaping.

The mainstream press is getting the story of vaping wrong. The American vaping community is being vilified relentlessly. American e-cig companies that follow the rules are not responsible for toxic THC cartridges. Nor are we responsible for the millions of colorful, high-nicotine vape sticks. We serve adult smokers. Adult smokers rely on flavors. Our age verification technology strictly limits vapor consumers to 21 or older.

Banning flavors is not the answer. Millions of Americans rely on flavored vapor products as an alternative to smoking. American e-cig companies stand ready to work to ensure that underage individuals do not take up vaping. There is a right way to do this. Stop unregistered entities from importing vapor products. Stop unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers from flooding the market with colorful, high-nicotine, disposable vapes. We can claim a win against unfair Chinese trade practices, and protect kids and American consumers at the same time.

Dray Moorman is the founder and CEO of Mig Vapor. A graduate of Texas State University, he has 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.

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I am a lifelong entrepreneur. It all started selling mattresses outside a Walmart. Sam Walton himself gave me permission. Some years later I had the opportunity to speak to another business icon, Donald Trump.
vaping, china, counterfeit, flavors
Thursday, 12 September 2019 04:15 PM
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