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Can we expect more underhand tactics from worldwide regulators?
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Mark Benson Offline
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Can we expect more underhand tactics from worldwide regulators?
Over the last few months we have seen a significant change in the European and the US electronic cigarette markets with plans announced for the future and immediate changes implemented. While so far the overall regulatory burden is still relatively lightweight it seems inevitable that costs will rise, new regulations will be brought in and many of the smaller operators could struggle to survive in the long term.

This is a market which regulators dismissed some time ago, never considered as a threat and continued to focus upon the tobacco cigarette market. However, the ongoing popularity of electronic cigarettes has outpaced even the most ardent fans and the industry seems to be going from strength to strength.

What tactics will regulators use in the future?

On the surface the recent FDA and European Parliament regulations seemed fairly lightweight in the short-term although as with many political documents the devil is in the detail. The European Parliament took a slightly different approach than its FDA counterpart by introducing relatively light touch regulations in the short-term. There is however the potential for member states to push through their own changes without recourse to the European Parliament. Yes, the European Parliament seems to have introduced a regulatory framework which does not require further democratic debate?

The FDA on the other hand has announced plans to regulate each and every vaping and electronic cigarette product on the market today and on the market in the future. These plans will take two years to implement and while the cost of FDA approval has not yet been released, many expect it to be significant. In simple terms, electronic cigarette manufacturers in the US have two years to get their house in order, to strengthen their finances and to fight for their future. Underhand?

Creeping control

While the recent changes by the European Parliament and the FDA appeared relatively light touch there is no doubt they have laid the foundations for some very strict regulations in the future. Indeed it seems almost inevitable that some of the smaller operations will struggle to survive, many of the flourishing brands will be gobbled up by their larger counterparts and we could potentially be on the verge of a change in industry control. Are we looking towards the tobacco cigarette industry mark two?

There is no doubt that regulators, politicians and many corporate bodies around the world have used every trick in the book to attack the electronic cigarette industry. We have seen rumours, mistruths and blatant misrepresentations promoted as "fact" which has created something of an information vacuum that the industry has found difficult to fill. There is no doubt that the industry will not give up without a fight, many are now turning this into a democratic fight with politicians and we could see new regulations and laws challenged in the courts.

Conclusion

So far the electronic cigarette industry has been ridiculed, banned by the FDA (reversed on appeal), been the subject of blatant untruths and only now are critics finally admitting defeat and embracing the sector going forward. If the industry thought the greatest battle would be for recognition it will be sorely disappointed because the greatest battle will be to retain control of a sector which has grown out with and with no assistance from the tobacco giants. Who will win?

For more information on OK Electronic Cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.
01-05-2014 09:12 PM
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