The Centre for Substance Abuse Research* based in the United Kingdom recently released a large-scale study of US-based e-cigarette users which found that tightened U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) rules may both create a black market for vape products in the U.S. or drive current vapers back to tobacco use.
Study interviews over 9,000 e-cigarette users
This study is notable in its scope. Just over 9,000 e-cigarette users were interviewed for it, with the general scope of the questions asking what they would do if the current products they were using were taken off the market by the FDA’s Deeming Rule, legislation which is somewhat more restrictive than the UK’s Tobacco Products Directive.
Some of the data that was gathered from the survey included:
75 percent said they would stock up prior to the Rule’s implementation
Almost 70 percent said they would purchase supplies from a non-licensed, black market vendor
66 percent said they would import products made in other countries
65 percent said they would make their own eliquid
Less than 20 percent said they would switch to an FDA-approved e-cigarette
15 percent said they may go back to smoking if their current products are restricted
Personal choice and preference central attraction of vaping
One of the main reasons quitters choose vaping over other methods is that, as with cigarettes, they can select the kind of delivery system they want (vape pen, sub-ohm setup, etc.) and flavours and blends of choice of eliquids. If this selection is taken away, there is a real danger that vapers will convert back to smokers, against their own wishes. This is why many would turn to a black market rather than going back to a habit that would damage their health again.
Obvious problems with the black market approach
Quality control and proper use of safe substances cannot be regulated in a black market environment. Additionally, while we sell our own DIY eliquid kits, what we sell is the high-quality, food-grade ingredients which we use to manufacture our TPD-compliant eliquids in an ISO-9001 certified manufacturing facility. Consumers who obtain these ingredients from other sources may not know to get the proper grade of ingredient. Black markets also give rise to counterfeit products and products of cheaper quality which could be mixed in someone’s basement instead of a clean room laboratory, as our eliquids are.
*The Centre for Substance Abuse Research lists its funders on its website, some of which do include tobacco companies. CSUR makes this statement on such funding:
“Tobacco-industry funded research within CSUR is focussed on the development of harm reduction products and assessing their impact in reducing the adverse health impact of smoking. No research is has been undertaken, nor will ever be undertaken within CSUR, that is aimed at increasing the use of combustible tobacco products.”