If you haven’t noticed by now, there’s a pretty important election that took place last week. Just kidding. Of course you noticed that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took part in the 2016 presidential election.
They have dominated the headlines for months now, and they spent extensive amounts of time touring the United States and talking to people about the issues that are most important to them.
From immigration and gun control to abortion and foreign trade, the candidates left no stone unturned as they campaigned for the most important job in the country.
Actually, let us rephrase that: They left almost no stone unturned during their respective campaigns. One topic that the candidates did not touch on—which may have been a mistake, depending on the way you see things—was vaping.
Despite the fact that there is a fairly large percentage of the population that cares deeply about vaping, neither candidate really talked about it much while on the campaign trail. That very well may change in the future, but for now, vaping is not at the top of candidates’ lists when it comes to topics they talk about when speaking to crowds.
One Florida community leader wanted to remind everyone that vaping is an important issue that Congress needs to keep in mind, though, especially as it pertains to one specific amendment that has reached the federal level.
Julio Fuentes, the President of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, wrote an open letter in the Miami Herald last week and reminded everyone that this amendment needs to considered carefully by those who serve in Congress.
And it’s really an important reminder to all those in the vaping community who care deeply about the regulations that the FDA placed on vaping products recently.
What the Letter Says
“there is a lot at stake with this amendment, as it could change the way that the FDA governs over the vaping industry.”
Fuentes started his letter off by talking about how many important issues have been stuck in the shadows in recent months because of the presidential election. And he’s right. While the presidential candidates have dealt with many different issues, there have also been plenty that have been overlooked because of the election.
But now that the election is over, Fuentes is calling for Congress to take a look at an amendment called the Cole-Bishop amendment that received bipartisan support when it was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee. According to Fuentes, it was a part of the 2017 agriculture appropriations bills that was passed by the House of Representatives.
If this were to happen, Fuentes suggested it would help countless small businesses and allow many business owners to avoid having to navigate through the FDA’s tricky testing process. It’s why he is fighting so hard to push for newly elected politicians to pay attention to the Cole-Bishop amendment.
“We need our elected officials to support this amendment and any efforts to modernize the predicate date of the FDA’s rules through the federal legislative process,” he wrote. “We need to encourage and thank our congressional leaders for their support, as it is currently being considered in the Senate.”
What Action Needs to Be Taken
Fuentes decided to write his letter to the Miami Herald because he believes that, in the future, vaping products will help many people to quit using older tobacco products. At this time, it’s still too early to definitively say whether or not vaping products are truly better for people than tobacco products, but Fuentes strongly suggested that that could be the case.
He also suggested that, by forcing vaping manufacturers to go through the FDA’s process of testing products, the FDA is going to put a lot of them out of business and create trouble for those looking for a potentially safer alternative to tobacco products.
“We must ensure that modernizing the predicate date is part of any final appropriation bills Congress votes on this year in order to secure consumer choice and accessibility to potentially safer alternatives to older tobacco products,” he wrote.
At the end of the day, Fuentes doesn’t want those elected to Congress and other positions of power to forget about amendments like this one. Many of these politicians are likely still celebrating their election wins, but he wants to make sure they are prepared to tackle the important issues, including vaping and the FDA regulations, once they get to work.
The first step for them is educating themselves about the Cole-Bishop amendment and then taking the time to consider how to handle it.
What the Goal Is
If we had to guess, Fuentes’ goal in calling attention to the amendment is not necessarily to try and sway the opinions of the public one way or the other with regards to vaping. Rather, he wants elected officials to do their jobs and make sure that issues like vaping are a priority.
As Fuentes mentioned on several occasions in his letter, there is a lot at stake with this amendment, as it could change the way that the FDA governs over the vaping industry. Outside of the financial ramifications that are at play, the health of millions of people is also going to be on the line when the amendment is considered in Congress.
“This amendment will ensure adult consumers continue to have access to the vaping products they increasingly rely on as a safe alternative to older tobacco products,” he wrote. “Moreover, it will not only prevent an upheaval in the marketplace, it will provide needed safety guidelines on vaping products.”
Will Congress take Fuentes and others like him seriously? That remains to be seen. But hopefully, they have at least been made aware of his letter and letters like it so that they understand just how important this issue is.