Meet Ron Johnson: The Politician Who’s Fighting For Your Right to Vape
In a year when so many vapers are disappointed with their local and state representatives for not taking the time to learn about how vaping affects them, Ron Johnson is a beacon of hope. Across the board, politicians have failed to see the value of vaping as a smoking cessation option and as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but Ron Johnson has done his research and he is standing by his constituents.
Who is Ron Johnson?
Ron Johnson is the senior United States senator from Wisconsin and recently won reelection for a second six-year term. He serves on the committees for Science and Transportation, Small Business and Entrepreneurship among others. Obviously all of these topics have a direct role in the advancement of vaping, so he is in a unique position to see how vapers and vape shops are directly impacted by new regulations.
Taking the Fight to the Floor
There is very little public information available about Ron Johnson’s lifestyle overall. It isn’t clear whether he is a smoker or vaper, or if he ever used these products in the past. So why is vaping on his radar at all? Because the one thing he does know well is business.
With the new FDA regulations rolling out, Johnson has been the first to admonish the FDA for issuing a death sentence for the vapor industry without taking the time to fully understand it. Johnson has charged that the current FDA proposals will kill off vape manufacturers and retailers and severely inhibit people’s ability to quit smoking, if they so desire.
More importantly he has directly questioned whether the FDA looked at the research before making their decision. His letter to the FDA asked whether or not their regulations would be changed if sufficient evidence were to come out in the next two years proving that vaping is the safer alternative. Thus far, the FDA has not given a direct response to Johnson’s charges, but his questions certainly deserve answers!
Currently several medical studies have been done, with researchers concluding that vapor products are as much as 95% safer than traditional cigarettes. Unfortunately, supporters of the new FDA regulations argue that the bill isn’t necessarily about the safety of users so much as the availability of products containing nicotine to minors.
The rhetoric has largely centered around the idea that middle and high school students will get their hands on vaporizers and move on to using traditional cigarettes. Again, this is simply wrong. Studies overwhelmingly show that smokers move towards vaporizers in far greater numbers than those who move from vaporizers to cigarettes. There are a number of reasons for this, aside from the fact that vaporizers were first introduced as smoking cessation devices.
Many vapers also choose to vape zero nicotine products because of their interest in cloud competitions and the technology, and have no interest whatsoever in using tobacco products.
Thus far, Johnson’s main mission appears to be slowing down the FDA regulations and forcing more people to reconsider the impact they will have on the vapor industry as a whole. In his letter to the FDA, he clearly outlined the fact that shutting down the vapor industry will not prevent people from using nicotine products, but that it would just push them back to cigarettes.
In addition, he addressed the fact that the vape industry currently employs tens of thousands of people and is driving innovation, a loss we cannot afford in our economy. In fact, the vapor industry is worth several billion dollars in the U.S. today.
Overall, Johnson is cautioning against making early judgement calls against a very important industry. Until adequate research has been collected, Johnson argues that there should be few regulations on the industry given that so many manufacturers have already self-regulated by introducing safety features in their devices, using pharmaceutical grade ingredients in their e-liquids and taking steps to meet compliance for labeling and other guidelines.
Johnson also highlighted the fact that the proposed rules for registration of products are unnecessarily expensive and complicated, basically ensuring that few companies will survive. The decision to grandfather these regulations back to 2007 is unusual and out of keeping with any recent legislation that has come about. It does nothing to serve those who are trying to quit smoking and does significant harm to those who are trying to provide safe alternatives.
At VaporFi, we understand that there is sure to be plenty more debate over the coming months as vapor manufacturers struggle to comply with regulations. You can be sure that plenty of new research will come about over the next several years that will come to the aid of the vapor industry in fighting these regulations.
There are already several lawsuits pending from vape manufacturers hoping to slow down the regulations and protect their rights in their home states. Senator Ron Johnson can be expected to continue fighting for those rights as well.
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.