Remember in All The President’s Men when Deep Throat told Robert Redford to “Follow the money”? That is always good advice when trying to understand what is going on in Washington DC.
One of the most powerful advocacy groups in the country is urging Congress to support changes to regulations that, if enacted, will all but wipe out the e-cigarette industry in America.
In a letter to members of Congress, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist appeals to lawmakers to change the date when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will compel all e-cigarette and premium cigar products that came out after Feb. 15, 2007 to undergo the costly Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) process.
The vast majority of e-cigarette and vaping products on the market today were released after February 2007. The PMTA process for each individual product could cost millions of dollars and vaping shops typically contain dozens if not hundreds of such products, which will amount to an impossible financial burden for most businesses.
If the regulations go into effect as is, as much as 99 percent of small businesses in the e-cigarette industry could be forced to close, according to president of the American Vaping Association Gregory Conley.
Norquist argues in the letter that changing the date, outlined in the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, won’t alter the FDA’s ability to regulate e-cigarettes but grandfathering in existing products will “save the agency at least two year’s worth of paperwork and allow them to focus on encouraging good manufacturing practices.”
Furthermore, many in the e-cigarette industry fear that if the FDA doesn’t change course before it’s too late the regulations could have the unintended consequence of helping the tobacco industry. CEO of e-cigarette company V2 Jan Verleur wrote in August that only “deep-pocketed tobacco companies” can afford to comply with the FDA’s rules.
This means America’s nine million vapers will be left without the dynamic and innovative market that has helped many of them quit smoking.
“I urge Congress to amend the Tobacco Control Act predicate date for the tobacco-derived products in the electronic cigarette and vapor product category in an effort to protect public health and protect American jobs,” says Norquist.
“Such a change in the predicate date would not interfere with the short-term goals of responsibly regulating the products; it would simply help avoid the looming economic and public health disaster associated with status quo prohibition.”
Old Grover isn’t exactly known for being a health care or consumer protection advocate. His obsession has always been with taxes. Grover is the guy who infamously said he wants to shrink government until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub.
So what is old Grover doing fiddling around with vaping?
“Cui bono” is a Latin phrase meaning “to whose profit?” Ask yourself who stands to profit from the changes that Grover is advocating. The answer to that question is who Grover is working for. I’m gonna take a wild guess and say it’s Big Tobacco.
Sometimes the answer to “Cui bono?” is obvious. Sometimes it’s not.
For instance, how does “cui bono?” apply to Black Lives Matter and the recent Special Snowflake Revolution taking place on college campuses?
Think about it.