Monday, October 7, 2013

E-cigarette makers lobbying hard to shape rules for fast-growing industry

Washington Post
By Holly Yeager and Brady Dennis

The giants of the tobacco industry know what it’s like to face heavy government regulation. So as the makers of Marlboro, Newport and Camel enter the booming market for electronic cigarettes, they are pressing to keep their new products free of such strict oversight.

With the consumption of e-cigarettes projected by some analysts to surpass that of traditional cigarettes within the next decade, exactly how e-cigarettes are defined — and what kinds of regulations and taxes they will face — are critical to the industry’s future.

At the moment, that future looks very bright, with sales roughly doubling every year and projected to approach $2 billion this year.

The Food and Drug Administration has said it intends to start regulating the sprawling e-cigarette industry for the first time this month, under the 2009 tobacco-control law.

Legislative Director, Gregory Conley
testifying for CASAA members 
Greg Conley, legislative director for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, a nonprofit group, has spent much of the past couple of years crisscrossing the country, from Maryland to Connecticut to California, fighting local usage bans on e-cigarettes, pushing state legislators to impose far lower taxes than on normal cigarettes and trying to sway federal regulators.

“It’s an incredibly important time, because so much could go either way,” he said.

Conley’s group makes weekly “calls to action” to its thousands of members. A potential e-cigarette usage ban in Duluth, Minn., the possibility of a prohibition on e-cigarette stores in Seal Beach, Calif., an ordinance in New York that could outlaw flavored e-cigarettes — each has been met with an e-mail blast asking members to contact local officials or show up en masse at public meetings.

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