May 6, 2016

Open letter to our representatives

Rep. Tom Cole,  President Barack Obama,  Sen Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rep Barbara Comstock (R-VA)

Subject: Please co-sponsor HR 2058 and help protect adult access to low-risk, smoke-free vapor products.

Hello all,

My name is Joshua Wheatley, and I am the owner and manager of a small business that focuses on providing electronic cigarettes in Fairfax County, Virginia.  I’m contacting you today to express my concern over the FDA final rule on docket FDA-2014-N-0189 / RIN 0910-AG38.

I used to be a pack a 2 pack a day smoker. Through my life, I’ve tried many different ways to quit, and I always ended up smoking again. The only thing that worked for me is vaping. When I discovered how well it worked for me, and personally felt the health benefits (reduced blood pressure, increased lung capacity and endurance, better overall health condition), I took the risk of opening my business to help others make the same journey that I did.

We aren’t a large business, making millions of dollars, or with the capability to hire large lobbies on our behalf.  We do believe that we contribute to a positive benefit for the community.

Since opening in 2015 we:

  • Served over 2500 customers
  • Provided over $30,000 in sales tax revenue
  • Employed ten people

Some of the FDA rules we agree with, and have actually been our policy since we opened, including only allowing sales to customers over 18 years of age, ensuring that there are warning labels on all the products we sell, and that all liquids are sold in child proof containers.

However, we believe the additional FDA rules restricting devices and liquids to only officially approved items will put us out of business, and also cause numerous financial and health impacts.

First – the lack of approved products to sell will put many small vape businesses like us out of business.

Second – The remaining vape suppliers will be restricted to a limited subset of inferior devices.

Third – the new limited availability and cost of going through the approval process will increase the cost to consumers who wish to vape instead of smoking.

Fourth – without access to alternatives, many vape consumers will return to tobacco.

Fifth – a new black market, with questionable source, lack of documentation, and varying quality will emerge for any consumer who continues vaping but don’t want to purchase the inferior quality and high priced items that remain

The health hazards of tobacco are well documented.  While the full long term effects of vaping aren’t known at this time, reputable medical organizations such as the Royal Council of Physicians estimates that electronic cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking. (New York Times – Smokers Urged to Switch to E-Cigarettes by British Medical Group http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/health/e-cigarettes-vaping-quitting-smoking-royal-college-of-physicians.html?_r=0)

The FDA claim for this new ruling is a reduction in harm. The actual impact will be the opposite.

A 2015 survey from the Society For Research On Nicotine and Tobacco reported that 18.2 million Americans are regular electronic cigarette users. The results of the FDA ruling could send all of those back to tobacco use, resulting in a 900% increase in harm and risk (by the RCP estimate).

This is both irresponsible and wrong. First, the FDA has overstepped their authority by issuing restrictions on items that have not been proven to cause harm. Secondly, their rules will INCREASE harm for over 18 million Americans.

This is irresponsible policy, with the potential to causing long term negative health and financial impacts, and should be stopped.

Thank you for your time and attention on this matter.

Sincerely,

Joshua Wheatley

 


Note: We suggest everyone who feels like we do, contact your representatives! It’s easy, there’s a form letter here that will do all the hard work for you.  http://cqrcengage.com/casaa/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=141133