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US to Regulate Synthetic Tobacco Products… But Who Does This Help?

smoking vs vaping
Written by Sarah Friedman

The US Government sure doesn’t like untaxed industries. And it sure doesn’t do much for the benefit of its citizens, often enforcing measures that hurt, rather than help. The recent, and ongoing, vape debate is a key example of this concept. Now, the US is at it again, with a recent bill that starts to regulate synthetic tobacco products, with the nonsensical tagline of helping kids.

So now the government will regulate synthetic tobacco products, but to what end? And to the detriment of who? Kids are going to smoke something, isn’t it best they go for the safer smoking option?? We cover everything important from cannabis to tobacco to psychedelics, and you can be a part of it by subscribing to THC Weekly Newsletter. Get direct and immediate access to deals on vapes, edibles, and other smoking paraphernalia, as well as on cannabinoid compounds like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC. Check them out in our “Best-of” lists. However, keep in mind… *cannabinoid products are not for everyone, and we don’t advise anyone to use them if they feel uncomfortable with these products at all.

Tax reform bill?

The bill in which the US government seeks to regulate synthetic tobacco products, isn’t about tobacco products at all. It’s actually called U.S. House Resolution 2471, and is a $1.5 trillion federal funding bill, which just so happened to include unrelated issues, like the ability for the US to regulate synthetic tobacco products.

Doesn’t sound like that goes together at all, right? And it might make a person wonder how and why such a law would be included with legislation completely unrelated. Unfortunately, this is something the US government is very good at, and it shows up at times when the government wants to get an unpopular law through without a debate. It’s another form of under cover of night law passing, where either another currently popular event is used to quietly hide passage of a bill, when voting is done late at night, or, like in this case, when something 100% unrelated is attached to a bill, to avoid having an open debate on the subject. So right away we know this is not a popular idea, because if it was, my article wouldn’t have started out this way.

This spending bill is hundreds of pages long, and has to do with what’s expected – government spending. When an unrelated piece of legislation is added onto a bill with a separate topic, its called a ‘rider’, and the practice is meant to slip something through without notice. In fact, its meant to get through without anyone talking about it at all.

under cover of night

Sound pretty awful and low? Well, it certainly calls into question the seedy methods the US likes to use to pass legislation, making it impossible for the public to know anything about a topic until its signed, sealed, and delivered. But then, we vote for our representatives, right? Not only does it make it questionable for legislation to be passed in this way, but it says very little for the representatives who we vote in.

US to regulate synthetic tobacco products

Starting April 14, the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) “includes specific language that makes clear the Food and Drug Administration can soon regulate tobacco products containing nicotine from any source, which includes synthetic nicotine.”

While it might not be well understood, prior to this, the FDA had no oversite over flavored synthetic nicotine products, namely vapes. So even though standard nicotine products are FDA-regulated, the synthetic versions, were not. Which means they’ve also held no tobacco tax, and the government doesn’t make extra money from them. The FDA statement went on to say,

“Manufacturers of tobacco products containing nicotine not derived from tobacco will soon need to submit a pre-market tobacco product application to the FDA and obtain authorization from the agency to market their product under the FD&C Act as amended by this legislation, or they will be subject to FDA enforcement.”

Nothing more specific has been made clear at the moment, with the language functioning as an open door, whereby the FDA can then make whatever restrictions it wants. Perhaps its just me, but it sounds like the FDA knows exactly what it wants, and simply doesn’t want to start an unpopular argument now, instead leaving it vague, and making sure the ability is there.

Why does the US want to regulate synthetic tobacco products?

First of all, the idea of this in general isn’t bad. Shouldn’t we have some regulation when it comes to weird liquids that we inhale into our lungs, especially when tons of different chemicals can be used? We hear all the time that additives to vape carts are what cause the problem that exists and not the cannabis OR tobacco compounds themselves. Anyone can sell anything, so it’s actually nice to think that what became a hugely dirty industry, might have some oversite. And if this was purely the idea, it would all be fine and good. But let’s be honest, it’s not.

synthetic tobacco

According to the government line, this isn’t to help make sure products are clean, its to simply ban kids from using them. However, it sounds much more like a tactic to recoup power and tax money. If the government cared, it would be pushing kids toward the safer option, not the behavior (smoking) that ACTUALLY is related to all kinds of deaths – 480,000 a year and as many as 41,000 from secondhand smoke. This is reminiscent of the failed vape mail ban attempt last year, and all the smear campaigns trying to link vaping to problems, when in reality its the much safer method. In all cases, it seems the desired result is to push kids (and adults) to a more dangerous form of consumption, because that’s the only reality that exists with these campaigns.

Technically, this is just an extension of those previous smear campaigns, because it only affects one thing, vaping. That word isn’t being heavily used this time around, likely because of all the pushback to other smear campaigns. And the funny thing? There are issues with vaping, like heavy metals – but wait – the government doesn’t seem to think that’s an issue at all. Yes, we do want that part regulated, because that actually is dangerous.

According to the government, this is not about smoking (lighting something on fire and breathing it in), this is simply about keeping people under 21 (yup, 21) from doing something with no death risk attached, with some kind of strange thinking that kids will simply throw up their hands if they can’t get access, and start playing chess instead. As per the Journal Now article,

“The FDA requested the regulatory language because of concerns that electronic-cigarette manufacturers were switching to synthetic-nicotine products “in an attempt to evade FDA regulation (that) revealed a critical need to clarify FDA’s authority over these products.”” Again, we don’t want crazy chemicals in our products, so that in and of itself isn’t bad. But those chemicals have nothing to do with nicotine, whether synthetic or not.

Which means this isn’t about public health at all. If it were, then banning cigarettes would make much more sense, right? The things that actually kill people. If it were about public health, the idea would be to promote vape products as they don’t come with the death toll of smoking. How little death toll from vapes? Since the inception of vaping (early 2000’s) until beginning of 2020, there were 68 confirmed deaths from 29 states and DC, and this comes directly from the US government. So in about 20 years, 68 people died, and it still wasn’t from any form of nicotine or cannabis, but additives like vitamin e acetate, or some other chemical put in.

Reaction to the news

Luckily, I’m not the only realist out there, and perhaps as these debates go further, more people will wake up to the senselessness of it all. In fact, anti-smoking activists, as in, the people who most represent the idea of eliminating smoking, are unhappy with it. And that says a lot. Why? Because it’s a blow to public health to take away the healthier smoking option. If anything, not having this option could raise the amount of standard smoking, which already leads to 480,000 deaths a year.

US regulate synthetic tobacco

According to Gregory Conley, the president of the American Vaping Association: “The FDA has made clear there is no hope of reform in the near future… The system has failed the smokers and vapers, and the answer isn’t banning another 100,000 products and creating a new illicit market. The fact is that with FDA so determined to destroy small- and- medium-sized businesses, nicotine alternatives are the only way for vapor specialty retailers to survive and keep adult ex-smokers off cigarettes.”

Of course, others can’t pry themselves from the government line, or lack-of-logic. Or perhaps, some organizations are pressured by the government or paid off to make their asinine statements. Case in point: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matt Myers stating that the right thing was done since synthetic nicotine “poses a new and growing threat to the health of our nation’s kids.” I guess he’s less concerned about the near 0 death count of vaping as compared to that 480,000 deaths a year from smoking.

Yup, according to Myers: “Congressional action is urgently needed to stop e-cigarette companies from using synthetic nicotine to blatantly evade FDA regulation and continue selling flavored e-cigarettes that are attracting and addicting kids.”

And he goes on: “If left unaddressed, manufacturers of thousands of e-cigarettes — as well as other tobacco products — are likely to switch to synthetic nicotine to evade critical public health protections, including premarket review requirements for new tobacco products, the nationwide tobacco sale age of 21, and health warnings.”

Now, to be fair, stuff should get tested. But if the logic hasn’t set in that this isn’t about testing for safety, I’m not sure how you’d get through to someone like this. Kids will smoke. They’ll try different things. They’ll do it no matter what anyone tells them, and we all know this. Is it really not better to have them pick a safer option that’s not related to 480,000 deaths a year? And considering how many of those above statements talk about unauthorized products, it becomes pretty clear what this is actually about, and its not saving kids.

I think Amanda Wheeler, the president of the American Vapor Manufacturers Association, really hit the nail on the head when she said, “It’s already lunatic that FDA is prohibiting adult American smokers from switching to vaping, but this legislation is so absurd that it will extend FDA’s reach to products that have no actual, physical connection to tobacco whatsoever.”

US laws


Realistically, a law like this won’t stop a kid from trying a nicotine product if they want one. And logically, we all already know this. It could very well be that the US government actually wants more smoking deaths. Because though that might seem backwards, its exactly how the government is acting. But then, this is the same government that wants to lower guidelines for opioid prescribing despite around 70,000 overdose deaths a year, and which refuses to allow ketamine for pain, despite the nonexistent death toll. Thank god they’re looking out for us!!!!

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About the author

Sarah Friedman

I look stuff up and and write stuff down, in order to make sense of the world around. And I travel a lot too.