By Cory Noles
The ugliest, mouthiest, foulest, most disgusting excuse for an American election is finally over. Finally.
Despite my current intense disgust for politics (and likely yours), we need to discuss a few things. Election night gave us several wins (and a major loss) for the vaping community.
Neither candidate expressed an opinion on the struggles currently facing the vaping community at the federal and state levels. Despite hundreds of thousands of emails, calls, tweets, letters and carrier pigeons, neither deemed it worthy to weigh in.
I have doubts that being in office will lead to any action in favor or against our community.
But there is a glimmer of hope. Trump has expressed a deep disdain for the FDA, well and all other regulatory agencies. He has talked at length about easing regulatory burdens
on business. The question remains whether ours is an industry that would see any benefit from that.
We can say with reasonable certainty, that Hillary Clinton would not have been a champion of our industry, given the low-level of Democrat politicians involved in any of the legislative efforts to change the predicate date.
With that said, I am cautiously optimistic. Easing the FDA’s burdensome registration progress is not out of the realm of possibility.
PROPOSITION 56 (CALIFORNIA)
What happened in California was a literal dropkick to the vapor industry in a state that has already been kicked this year.
Proposition 56 passed, which was no surprise to most in California. With that, comes an estimated 70 percent tax on vapor products, according to Nix56.org. The not-for-profit group also suggests the law will result in the closure of thousands of stores, leaving many more thousands unemployed.
It is also a loss for smokers still searching for a healthier alternative. Since by comparison, the tax on vapor products will be substantially higher, Prop56 creates a virtual wall between existing smokers and a less harmful alternative.
In addition, only 13 percent of the money is slated to go to smoking cessation and prevention programs. 13 percent.
That’s a loss. A serious loss.
The reelection of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) was likely the biggest surprise win for the vapor industry of the night.
Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, has single-handedly taken the FDA to task on its 2016 deeming regulations against vaping products. The senator has sent multiple letters requesting information and demanding a response. While little has been done yet, his re-election allows him to continue this fight, which is an avenue that could gain some attention moving forward.
Johnson was largely expected to lose his re-election bid to democratic challenger Rep. Russ Feingold. It goes without saying, that the strong turnout for Trump that resulted in a surprising Wisconsin win, helped him along considerably. As did the Wisconsin vaping community.
Watching what happened with Johnson should be a sign to elected officials. While our numbers aren’t huge, you want us in your corner.