Congress Axes Cole-Bishop Amendment from U.S. Budget Agreement
After months of discussion about how the Cole-Bishop Amendment could save the vapor industry and allow many of today’s popular e-liquids and devices to remain on the market, the new 2017 Omnibus spending bill will move forward without the Cole-Bishop Amendment in place.
At face value, this is a huge blow to vapor proponents who hoped the amendment would stave off a collapse of the vapor industry. However, advocates remain optimistic that the amendment has shined a spotlight on the issue. Other legislators have jumped on board by introducing other legislation that could help the cause as well.
Vapers Aren’t Alone
The Cole-Bishop Amendment is just one of 159 associated riders which have ultimately been cut from the deal. There are also notable cuts to education budgets, the CDC and the Justice department. Ultimately, this means that vapor manufacturers may still be looking at spending a considerable amount of money in application fees and testing with the FDA to get their products to market once the bill goes into effect.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t the end of the road for the vapor industry, or the Cole Bishop Amendment. The amendment will likely go back into consideration and may be submitted as a rider on another budget later this year. The extra time gives supporters a chance to rally the additional support it will need to pass as part of the September budget.
A number of other events have taken place in the political sphere, giving vapers hope. Representative Duncan Hunter formally introduced the Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Vapor Alternatives Act of 2017 late last week. The bill includes rules for reassessing vapor products as harm reduction tools, not just as cigarette equivalents, and could open up a pathway for a new system of regulating vapor products. Members of CASAA have also been lobbying those in the HHS and FDA to slow down the implementation of the vapor deeming regulations to give manufacturers more time to reach compliance.
While the outlook for the Cole-Bishop Amendment looks bleak today, it could still have a long life ahead of it. Both Representatives Cole and Bishop are still fully behind the amendment, and they are working to gain enough support to keep it alive. The vapers’ cause has certainly not been abandoned by legislators, as representatives are learning to understand the importance of vapor products in the daily lives of their constituents.
Gianna Del Monte is the Brand Manager at VaporFi. She has been in the vaping industry since June 2015 and has extensive experience in successfully managing and marketing a variety of new vapor product launches. Originally from New Jersey, Gianna has lived in the Miami area for the last 5 years.