September 2018: Online vape sales bans, flavor bans, and Trump Tariffs, oh my!
September 2018 has been a particularly brutal month for the American vaping enthusiast as talks of an FDA ban for all online sales of vape technology, e-liquids, and components began to enter the political landscape. For the remainder of the available-for-purchase vaping gear, consumers will now be forced to pay higher prices due to a multi-wave surge in Chinese trading tariffs being implemented by the Trump Administration.
No end is in sight, by the way, as to the possibility of even more import taxes being added at any point in the future to the already expansive list. The Trump Trade War is real – very, very real, and the American vaping consumer is likely to take a massive financial hit.
Related Article: VTA warns of ‘third wave’ of Trump Tariffs issued Tuesday on vaping products
It all began in early September when FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a press announcement calling teenage vaping a national “epidemic” and a “national health crisis.” In that same official statement, the FDA also confirmed the recent sending of some 1,100 warning letters to individual vape shops, e-commerce vendors, and manufacturers alleging non-compliance with FDA policies regarding underage sales. Another 131 organizations were also accused of repeat offenses and further issued financial penalties.
Related Article: Citing teen vaping as an ‘epidemic,’ FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb launches investigation
Simultaneously, the FDA announced the launching of a federal probe regarding these same underage policies. Five of the vaping industry’s leading retailers were hereby demanded to respond to the probe within 60-days by documenting how they planned to prevent underage purchases and use of vape products and services in the immediate future. Those five companies include Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic 60, and together they make up about 97 percent of all vape sales nationwide.
Vape bans, e-liquid bans, and vaping rants by Gottlieb
The notorious FDA statement from earlier in the month was only an ominous precursor to a series of televised video rants by the agency’s leader, many of which ultimately went viral across social media, as well. Mr. Gottlieb appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box where he made a rather noteworthy remark about vaping “on-ramps to kids.”
“So, unfortunately, in order to close the on-ramp to kids, we’re going to have to narrow that on-ramp for adults. And the thing we’re looking at right now is removing the flavors – the characterizing flavors – from e-cigarette products.”
Related Article: Squawk Box Alert: Is Gottlieb implementing a vaping flavor ban in 60 days?
The FDA Chief also appeared on Fox News and other outlets while highlighting a new anti-vaping campaign showing up in social media campaigns. Print advertisements were also showing up in thousands of bathrooms in middle and high schools across the United States.
The video depicts goulash images of teenagers suffering from a parasitic ailment which causes their vascular system to inflate when vaping. Adults found the videos disturbing. Many teens – unfortunately – found them cool and super-hero-esque, perhaps backfiring on the FDA’s initial intention to dissuade teens from vaping rather than encourage them.
Related Article: Fox News airs grotesque anti-vaping video during FDA’s Scott Gottlieb interview
The vaping pièce de résistance of Gottlieb’s anti-vaping rage came later in the month at a Washington, DC conference on vaping and hosted by Axios. Any dedicated vaper watching the event being broadcast live by C-SPAN 2 was immediately shocked when Gottlieb made another unexpected declaration.
He’d already stated several times over the past year that a possible sales ban on flavored e-liquids is under consideration. During the Axios event, he announced that the FDA is also considering banning all online sales completely, including the sales of vape mods, tanks, coils, and other components. And these news stories were just the tip of the proverbial, anti-vaping iceberg to hit American vapers in September 2018.
Related Article: BREAKING NEWS: FDA considers banning ALL online e-cig & vaping sales
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