New Alliances in Vape Industry Could Mean Global Regulation

The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) announced in a press release that it will join the North American Vapor Alliance (NAVA). These organizations, as a joint venture, will help to build and vie for a comprehensive regulatory framework for vape products across North American borders and abroad. NAVA currently is comprised of the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA) and the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA). NAVA and CVA have each recently held meetings with federal authorities to develop better working relations between the vape industry and government bodies.

“SFATA has always supported the need for sensible regulation of the vapor industry,” said Executive Director Mark Anton. As it stands, there are few regulations for vapes, most of which overlap with tobacco regulation – causing problematic stigma and inapplicable policies for the tobacco-less product. Important to both the industry and the government, though, is to effectively regulate vapes and paraphernalia to keep products out of the hands of kids.

New Business Standards

To that end, the organization has specific and stringent principle requirements for any business that looks to join. From their website: “SFATA and its members sell only to adults. SFATA and its members do not market to minors. SFATA and its members support a national age standard on the sale of vapor products and e-liquids that aligns with the national age of majority for other adult responsibilities such as voting, paying taxes, and serving in our U.S. military.” The organization’s site states any business applying for membership implicitly agrees to adhere to these principles.

Yet, much of the current outcry for better vape regulation comes on the heels of increased e-cigarette use by minors, specifically. As more businesses receive warning letters and fines from the FDA for sale to minors, the vape industry overall needs to act quickly to salvage the initial and intended purpose of smokeless alternatives. Some companies, like Juul, already claimed they intend to arrange and fund education initiatives for youth about the dangers of nicotine products like theirs.

But more regulatory work is still needed. Anton said organization leaders and FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, recently sat down together to discuss the importance and necessity of industry-specific standards. The industry, in working to unify and solidify better regulatory standards for not only manufacture, but more importantly for sale, could help keep vapes out of the hands of youth. “We believe this can best be accomplished by a united industry – including outside of the USA,” Anton said.

Global Implications

The SFATA joined with NAVA to ensure more than just North American protections. The alliance seeks to “encourage effective global regulation to ensure the industry thrives and expands as more people quit smoking deadly cigarettes for a less harmful alternative,” Anton said. Proper global regulations are ultimately good for the booming US vape industry, as more manufacturers and e-commerce companies start up to meet growing demand. “SFATA is committed to the growth of our small, American businesses,” said Anton.

April Meyers, SFATA Board President, echoed Anton’s statements. “Since our meeting [with the FDA], it’s become our goal to develop global professional-level manufacturing standards for e-liquids, hardware, and retail accreditation and certification,’ Meyers said. She called the agency the “global gold-standard regulatory body” for vape products and said that they are looking to the vape industry “for leadership and solutions.”

SFATA and NAVA have a unique opportunity here to help dictate the future of vape regulations for not only the North American markets, but the world over. The two groups plan to work on a second round of updated manufacturing standards, as well as “develop new standards that will be state of the art for e-liquid components and hardware.” The joint parties will also create and develop a set of accreditation standards to vape product retailers, including e-commerce sales channels.

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