November 14, 2016
Arizona Business Daily
Chuck Schmidt

As an Arizona resident and small business owner, I am deeply troubled by a threat to one of our growing economies — the vaping industry. If left unchanged, a provision in new rules by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), called the “predicate date,” will force all vapor products produced after 2007 to undergo a costly and time-consuming approval process. Vapor shop owners and convenience stores will have to pay untold sums in the process while waiting months or years for approval — the result of which will inadvertently over-regulate the industry out of existence in Arizona. Businesses could close down, jobs could be lost, taxable Arizona revenue may go out of state and consumers could be denied of the choices they want and deserve. 

While the FDA may have had good intentions, their rule will not improve oversight of the tobacco industry, instead, it will cause an unnecessary prohibition of the very products consumers are increasingly demanding to curb smoking traditional cigarettes.   We cannot allow the predicate date of the rules to remain as-is—it’s bad for business, it’s bad for consumers, and it would reverse constructive progress in public health spurred by the vapor industry.  

Thankfully, Congresswoman Martha McSally can help save Arizona’s vapor industry and, therefore, I am urging her, along with her colleagues, to take action as soon as possible to fix the FDA’s regulation. The Cole-Bishop Amendment is just the solution we need as it will update the predicate date from 2007 to 2016. 

This small but important change will provide vapor businesses a more workable timeframe in complying with the review process for new and developing vapor products, which will keep businesses open, support innovation in the vapor industry, and ensure Arizonians can continue to access less harmful substitutes to traditional tobacco products that many consumers have increasingly come to rely on. 

This issue is important because it is a matter of regulations keeping pace with marketplace advancements and supporting consumer choice. I hope, for the sake of Arizona’s economy and for consumers, Congresswoman McSally supports the Cole-Bishop amendment and urges congressional leaders to include it in any of the remaining spending bills Congress must pass this year.