lawmakers in Georgia, Maryland and Mississippi recently introduced bills in their respective states that would only allow the sale of vaping products authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or awaiting authorization.
The legislation will also create catalogs to inventory authorized vaping products that will eventually be made public. On the surface, the bills look like a reaffirmation of what the FDA is already doing through its premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) process, through which it rejects millions of products. However, many pointed to the bills as a disguised way of banning synthetic nicotine.
Because synthetic nicotine is currently unregulated, many manufacturers have turned to synthetic nicotine as a way to continue selling their products.
“Elected officials who support these bills may be under the misconception that their proposals are only aimed at illegal and counterfeit dealers,” said Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association. “The reality is that these bills will shut down licensed small businesses that are in full compliance with federal, state and local laws.”
The Republican lawmakers who introduced the bills—Maryland Senator JB Jennings, Georgia Senator Jeff Mullis, and Mississippi Rep. Nick Bain—all reportedly received between $500 and $4,800 in campaign funding from Juul Labs. Some think Juul and other big companies want to see less synthetic nicotine (and competition).
“To protect adult smokers’ opportunities for harm reduction, Juul Labs supports a fully regulated, science-based marketplace,” a Juul spokesperson said. “Illegal sales and illegal products and products designed to evade federal and state oversight undermine the harm reduction and responsible e-vapor category.”