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The Voice of the Vapor Industry.
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A Q&A With Tim Philips of ECig Intelligence
 
Recently ECigIntelligence, Roebling Research, E-Cigarette Forum and SFATA partnered to create the first independent analysis of the U.S. vapor shop industry with the launch of “Project Vape Manifest.” We spoke with ECigIntelligence’s Tim Philips on the genesis of the survey: 
 
SFATA:  Why did you create the survey?
 
Tim: As consumer preferences evolve and the category continues its growth, we saw a need for accurate data on sales, trends, preferences and attitudes, as well as insight in to actual economic impact from the category on a local, state, regional and national level.
 
SFATA: What is the aim of the project?
 
Tim: This really is the first time that the industry will have independent data from vape shops, where most of the growth is now occurring, which we think will be helpful to shop owners to better compete in today’s marketplace, and regulators and other constituents to make informed decisions.
 
SFATA:  Why partner with SFATA? 
 
Tim: SFATA is the largest trade association to the e-cig industry with strong ties to the vape shop community. With SFATA, Roebling and E-Cigarette Forum, we have brought together a great mix of industry leaders to start tracking important trends in the vapor industry.  
 
SFATA: What are some of the benefits of participating in the study?
 
Tim:  Participants will receive a customized report that will include best practices and key economic trends and insights into the vape shop market. We are also extending SFATA members a 50 percent discount on the full final report, which we intend to conduct regularly to track longitudinal changes in the sector. Finally, by tracking the vape shop industry and making public the key findings of the report to U.S. regulators and media, we will contribute to a better understanding of this part of the sector to the benefit of its long-term future.
 
SFATA:  How can a vape shop participate? 
 
Tim: The survey is anonymous, takes no longer that 30-minutes, and can be found here. We encourage all  vape shops in the U.S. to participate.
New Membership Hub!
 
New anti-vapor regulations are going into effect in Texas and Massachusetts. 

Texas, which faced a barrage of bills that could have crippled the industry fought back many of the worst proposals with the help of SFATA and our Texas Chapter. While the rules officially go into effect on October 1, the practical matters of implementation are muddying the waters. Online sales with age-verification and age-verified shipping continue to be points of conversation between industry leaders and the Texas Comptroller’s office. Under the new rules, vapor shops in Texas are now required to prevent direct access by consumers to products in the store, post new warnings about the risks of smoking, and employees must be trained in age verification to prevent minors from making purchases or sampling.  

Massachusetts’ new vapor regulations went into effect on September 25th. In addition to mandating a minimum purchasing age of 18 and child-resistant caps, the new rules also prohibit sampling, promotional giveaways, and other free distribution. Requirements for online sales with age verification and sales in vending machines are also addressed in the final rules. 

SFATA is very concerned about many parts of these regulations that restrict access to vapor products and businesses’ ability to sell these them to adult consumers. SFATA’s President and CEO, Phil Daman, Esq has been in contact with the Attorney General’s office to discuss possible changes to the new rule.  Phil will be hosting a call on Monday, October 5th, 2015 at noon ET  to discuss this matter with members. Please contact Phil at pdaman@sfata.org if you would like to participate in this call. 
 
FDA Proposes Regulations on
Vapor Marketing and Language

The FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products proposed a new rule that would restrict how vapor products are talked about and marketed. The proposal, “Clarification of When Products Made or Derived From Tobacco Are Regulated as Drugs, Devices, or Combination Products; Amendments to Regulations Regarding 'Intended Uses,'” was released last week and the FDA is accepting comments until Tuesday, November 24th. 
 
In their announcement of the commenting period, FDA said that they are “initiating this rulemaking to provide clarity regarding our interpretation of the drug and device definitions in the [Food, Drug and Cosmetics] Act with respect to products made or derived from tobacco. This rulemaking will provide assistance for entities intending to market products made or derived from tobacco…. The rulemaking will increase clarity regarding the types of claims and other evidence that make a product made or derived from tobacco subject to regulation as a drug, device or combination product, helping consumers distinguish products made or derived from tobacco that are intended for medical use from products marketed for other uses.”

If the rules are adopted as proposed, all claims of harm reduction and vapor products being a safer alternative to combusted cigarettes could be banned in all marketing. Vapor businesses already walk a fine line when it comes to claims of cessation and health benefits, but these proposed rules would further restrict that language.

SFATA will be submitting extensive comments to the FDA on the rulemaking proposal on behalf of our members. You can also submit your own comments and read the full proposal here

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