Once again, Congress is negotiating the final appropriations bills that will fund the government for fiscal year 2018. And once again, the Cole-Bishop Amendment is in the mix.
The Cole-Bishop is a version of the bill introduced last year by Reps. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Sanford Bishop of Georgia. It’s a bipartisan effort that has plenty for both Republicans and Democrats to support. And it’s backed by all the major vaping advocacy groups, including CASAA, SFATA, VTA, and the American Vaping Association.
The most important part of the amendment is that it changes to predicate date in the FDA Deeming Rule from Feb.15, 2007 to Aug. 8, 2016. That means that if the Cole-Bishop Amendment passes, all vaping products that are already on the market can continue to be sold without being forced into the FDA’s brutally expensive and difficult premarket tobacco application (PMTA) process.
The Cole-Bishop Amendment is Section 753 of the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill, and it has already made it through the House of Representatives. Now the House will negotiate with the Senate on what stays in the final version of the appropriations bill.
This is the point where last year the Cole-Bishop language was left out of the final funding package.
But now we have a second chance to influence our elected officials with a determined campaign of support for Cole-Bishop. If every American vaper spend 30 seconds to click the button below and send a message to their members of Congress, the amendment would pass.
The problem is that many vapers aren’t aware of the situation. People who read articles about Congressional budget bills are a minority. That’s why it’s important to spread the word. Send the messages and then post the link on forums, websites, social media, and in vape shops. Get your friends and family members who don’t vape to do it too.
You can also register your support by texting CASAA AUG8 to 52886 on your cell phone. Or use the contact form on the VTA website.
Are there other ways the vaping industry could be saved? Yes. There are lawsuits against the FDA, challenging the Deeming Rule on Constitutional grounds. Nicopure Labs and the Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition are appealing the suit they lost last year, and several small vaping businesses have filed three separate actions, supported by the Pacific Legal Foundation.
But lawsuits are expensive, they take a long time, and the results are very uncertain. We don’t need to count on a judge to solve this problem if we can get enough support for the Cole-Bishop Amendment.
Let’s make it happen now, not some day in the future that may never come. Let’s not spend the next four years wondering if the vape industry will be around after 2022.