Witness the Murder of an Industry

Friday 25 April 2014 - Filed under Authoritarianism + Dumbassery + Economy + electronic cigarettes + Government + Journalism + Regulation

How government kills a nascent industry and ensures that small, independent competitors have a massive barrier to entry in to the market:

The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

While the proposal being issued Thursday won’t immediately mean changes for the popular devices, the move is aimed at eventually taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry.

God forbid we have an “untamed” industry that’s providing jobs by the thousands and a route for smokers to quit fucking smoking.

But don’t worry, small eLiquid and hardware makers, these regulations aren’t real regulation. These are just a rules designed to set up regulation.

The agency said the proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules don’t immediately ban the wide array of flavors of e-cigarettes, curb marketing on places like TV or set product standards.

And of course we have the pretense that science, and not the largest players in the electronic cigarette industry, will be what guides our fair saviours at the FDA in their decision making process.

Any further rules “will have to be grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits,” Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said.

You know, the same players who are cheering on the regulation and are clamoring for more.

The proposed rules were also viewed by industry insiders and analysts as benefiting the sector’s current leading companies who have already adopted restrictions on sales that anticipated the regulations, including a suggested ban on sales of the nicotine vapor devices to people under age 18.

And they also said rules won’t hamper Big Tobacco companies’ ability to expand market share in the e-cig category, which could help offset the threat that e-cigs represent to sales of traditional tobacco cigarettes.

You can bet that the government will completely ignore the science that shows e-cigarettes as virtually harmless to both users and bystanders (those who are involuntarily exposed to vapor):

By the standards of occupational hygiene, current data do not indicate that exposures to vapers from contaminants in electronic cigarettes warrant a concern. There are no known toxicological synergies among compounds in the aerosol, and mixture of the contaminants does not pose a risk to health.

[. . .]

In summary, analysis of the current state of knowledge about the chemistry of contaminants in liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to these contaminants at a level that would prompt measures to reduce exposure by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.

[. . .]

Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative (erring on the side of caution) assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity. That is, even ignoring the benefits of e-cigarette use and the fact that the exposure is actively chosen, and even comparing to the levels that are considered unacceptable to people who are not benefiting from the exposure and do not want it, the exposures would not generate concern or call for remedial action.

In fact, the science has not only shown exposure to contaminants in vapor to not be an issue at all, but that virtually every concern about it has either been completely fabricated from thin air, or, at the very least, speculated without any data to support their claim, or data that is intentionally fabricated with bad science or misinterpreted:

• There is no serious concern about the contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, acrolein, etc.) in the liquid or produced by heating. While these contaminants are present, they have been detected at problematic levels only in a few studies that apparently were based on unrealistic levels of heating.

• The frequently stated concern about contamination of the liquid by a nontrivial quantity of ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol remains based on a single sample of an early-technology product (and even this did not rise to the level of health concern) and has not been replicated.

• Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) are present in trace quantities and pose no more (likely much less) threat to health than TSNAs from modern smokeless tobacco products, which cause no measurable risk for cancer.

• Contamination by metals is shown to be at similarly trivial levels that pose no health risk, and the alarmist claims about such contamination are based on unrealistic assumptions about the molecular form of these elements.

• The existing literature tends to overestimate the exposures and exaggerate their implications. This is partially due to rhetoric, but also results from technical features. The most important is confusion of the concentration in aerosol, which on its own tells us little about risk to heath, with the relevant and much smaller total exposure to compounds in the aerosol averaged across all air inhaled in the course of a day. There is also clear bias in previous reports in favor of isolated instances of highest level of chemical detected across multiple studies, such that average exposure that can be calculated are higher than true value because they are “missing” all true zeros.

Being in close contact with various small-time players in the thriving new eLiquid and hardware markets, I can assure you that the industry is NOT “thrilled” about this regulation, despite the claim by the media that it’s being cheered on by the entire industry and that there are no worries about how it might affect both small manufacturers and vendors.

Make no mistake: this proposal is about providing solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist and providing a toe in the door so that the government might pave the way to clear most of the smaller players out of the picture, handing the entire segment of a booming sector of the economy over to the largest players in the industry. There has never been a recorded death from e-cigarette use, and the industry, by and large, adopted the practice of refusing to sell electronic cigarette products to minors years ago. I’ve personally been witness to not only e-cigarette vendors denying sales to minors, but them actually refusing to allow them to even stay in their store. They don’t want to sell vaping products to kids. All they want is to help cigarette smokers get off of tobacco.

Yet the media, those self-proclaimed champions of freedom, is cheering the government on, providing copious amounts of propaganda in favor of regulation, making it seem as if the entire industry is in favor. Time Magazine:

E-cigarette makers have hailed the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed regulations for new tobacco products—including electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco and hookah, among others—as fair and moderate and a sign of a business-friendly approach

“It’s a great day,” says Christian Berkey, CEO of Johnson Creek, a leading maker of electronic cigarette liquid based in Wisconsin.

Berkey was referring to the FDA’s issuance Thursday of proposed federal regulation of electronic cigarettes, a nascent industry that has grown to nearly $2 billion a year in U.S. sales. The move extended the FDA’s authority to regulate new tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and hookah, among others.

Of course the big guys want the lion’s share of that $2B, and the government is there to help them get it no matter how much it harms both current e-cigarette users and smaller vendors. The government is not out to help the general public, but to help themselves and those that pay for their services.

Fuck the FDA in the ass with a rusty chainsaw. All I want is to quit and stay off of cigarettes. I’d fucking appreciate if they allowed me to do that without creating barriers based on the very misguided idea that they are protecting me.

2014-04-25  »  madlibertarianguy