Iowa Raises Age to Purchase Vaping Products to 21

Credit: Erik Brolin

The governor of Iowa has signed a bill into law that raises the legal age to purchase vaping and other tobacco products to 21. The bill was passed by the Iowa Senate in March, but due to Covid-19, the Iowa House was delayed from taking up the bill until June.

“This law brings Iowa into alignment with the federal Tobacco 21 bill, which was signed into law in December 2019,” said Iowa Department of Public Health Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Division Director Jerilyn Oshel, in a story with wowt.com.

The release states that there are no exemptions or grandfather clauses to the Iowa or federal law. Under the law, it is illegal to supply or sell covered tobacco products to someone under the age of 21. It is also illegal for someone under the age of 21 to attempt to purchase or purchases the products.

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Colorado Voters to Decide on Nicotine Tax in November

Photo: Yekophotostudio | Dreamstime.com

Voters in Colorado will make the decision on whether to raise taxes on nicotine products in November. The Centennial State’s governor, Jared Polis, signed legislation on Wednesday referring a question to the statewide ballot.

“Colorado voters will have a really important opportunity this November to say it’s time that Colorado no longer be the top state for teen vaping,” Polis said, according to an article thecentersquare.com. “It’s time that we help make sure that less kids get hooked on nicotine, a habit that is hard to kick and often stays for life and will shorten their lives.”

Polis added the measure would be “an extra boost for smoking cessation programs.” Voters must approve the measure under the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) because it includes a proposed tax increase, according to the article.

A fiscal note for the legislation says the measure, if approved, would bring in $82.7 million in fiscal year 2020-21, and $167.6 million in fiscal year 2021-22.

Revenue from the tax increases would go toward the State Education Fund, Rural Schools Fund, a preschool program, tobacco education programs, and a health care fund.

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FDA Gives EAS Acceptance and Filing Letters for PMTA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Acceptance and Filing letters for E-Alternative Solutions (EAS), an independent, family-owned innovator of consumer-centric brands for its Leap and Leap Go vapor products. This notification moves the EAS products to the Substantive Review phase of the Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) process.

“This milestone represents an important step forward for EAS as we support our mission of producing high-quality vapor products that serve as an alternative to combustible cigarettes with our Leap and Leap Go vapor products,” said Jacopo D’Alessandris, president and CEO of EAS. “FDA Acceptance and Filing Letters are a testament to the strength and thoroughness of our applications, which we believe will meet FDA’s requirements. We want to thank FDA for the prompt turnaround on these materials given the challenging circumstances, and we look forward to partnering with the Agency as we move forward in the process.”

Jacopo D’Alessandris

The Acceptance letters follow the administrative review of EAS’s filings to ensure that the submissions met the baseline criteria for review. The Filing Letters are the result of a preliminary scientific review that ensures that the applications include the necessary ingredients and health analyses. FDA will now conduct a Substantive Review to assess whether the Leap and Leap Go products are appropriate for the protection of public health. If successful, this phase will result in Marketing Orders from FDA authorizing the continued marketing and sale of these products.

“The Substantive Review is where our months of hard work assembling more than 100,000 pages of evidence will pay off in supporting our proposition that the Leap and Leap Go products are appropriate for the protection of public health,” said Chris Howard, Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at EAS. “We are looking forward to continued collaboration with FDA in the weeks and months to come and remain optimistic that the PMTA process will result in Marketing Orders.”

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Smoore Tallies $918 Million in Hong Kong IPO

Photo: Timonthy Donahue

Smoore International has raised $918 million in its initial public offering (IPO) at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, reports Reuters. The deal is the largest IPO in Hong Kong since the start of 2020.

The Shenzhen, China-based firm offered 574 million shares, according to the company’s prospectus, and had indicated the stock would be priced between HKD9.60 ($1.24) and HKD12.40 per share.

The largest investors were Huaneng Trust, which took $80 million worth of stock, and Prime Capital which took $50 million, according to Smoore’s prospectus.

In 2019, Smoore reported a profit of CNY2.17 billion ($307.8 million), up from CNY733.9 million one year earlier.

Smoore is due to start trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Friday.

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Arizona Bar Bans Vapor Over Covid-19 Concerns

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A bar in Chandler, Arizona is asking customers to vape outside because they worry vape clouds could spread Covid-19. The bar, Tom Ryan’s, recently took to their social media pages to inform customers that vaping was no longer allowed indoors.

Bar manager Paige Lokkessmoe said that after seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases it wasn’t sitting well with them to allow people to keep vaping inside, according to an article on azfamily.com. Numerous public health experts, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for disease Control and Prevention have said there is no evidence e-cigarette vapor spreads Covid.19

“We decided to stop allowing vaping in the bar because we were, kind of, just looking at the vaping smoke and seeing it settle everywhere around us. And the concern is the ice [and] the bottles that have pour spouts on them,” Lokkessmoe said.

According to Dan Quan, a toxicologist from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, the droplets that people produce when they sneeze or cough are the same as when they exhale, say, a cloud of smoke.

“Let’s say I take a deep breathe in and I exhale forcibly, I mean, there are still some droplets that form– and that’s why we suggest everyone wear masks because it does cut down on the amount of droplets dispersed in the air,” Quan said, adding that if you’re going to vape, take it outside because the fresh air will help dilute the droplets. Vaping and smoking will still be allowed on the patio at Tom Ryan’s.

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L.A. Moving to Make Changes to Its Legal Marijuana Market

Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to make numerous changes to its once-flourishing marijuana market. The legislative body gave its initial approval to expand licensing and get more assistance to operators who endured the consequences of the nation’s war on drugs.

Broad legal sales kicked off in California in 2018, and at that time Los Angeles was expected to quickly establish itself as a world-leading cannabis economy, according to an article from the Associated Press. “But that never happened. Instead, robust illegal sales continue to outpace the up-and-down legal market, while businesses complain that hefty taxes and a cumbersome bureaucracy have slowed, rather than encouraged, growth,” the article states.

The new revisions are designed to provide a jump in licenses for so-called “social-equity” applicants. These include individuals, many of color, who were arrested or convicted of a marijuana-related offense, and lower-income residents who live, or have lived, in neighborhoods marked by high marijuana arrest rates.

Only applicants meeting those criteria would be eligible for new retail and delivery licenses through 2025.

The council also seeks to help businesses wanting licenses to quickly get temporary approval to begin operating once certain benchmarks are met. The rules would permit businesses to relocate while being licensed and streamline the application process, according to the article.

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FDA Will Not Request Extension to Sept. 9 PMTA Deadline

Credit: Succo

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not intend to delay the current Sept. 9, 2020 deadline for the vapor industry to submit applications for marketing authorization before a hearing is scheduled for the plaintiffs in the case.

In a status report filed Wednesday to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the regulatory agency told the court that it does “not currently plan to seek an extension of the September 9, 2020 premarket application deadline.”

Any extension requested by the plaintiffs could be complicated because the request would have to be approved by the Maryland-based federal court that forced the agency to move the deadline to May 12, 2020 due to a separate lawsuit.

The FDA has already delayed the PMTA deadline due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The deadline was previously scheduled for May 12, 2020 but was moved to Sept. 9. According to the FDA’s status report, the plaintiffs in the case are expected to file a status report requesting their preferred argument date for a further extension.

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Thailand Asked to Consider Science in Vapor Regulation

Scenes like this are rare in Thailand. This vaper in Koh Samui, Thailand could face fines or even jail. (Timothy S. Donahue)

A consumer advocacy group wants the government of Thailand to consider science as basis for ending e-cigarette ban. The group cites Hong Kong’s use of scientific studies as the basis for ending the ban on smoke-free nicotine, including vapor, heat-not-burn tobacco products (HnB) and snus.

Asa Ace Saligupta, who runs consumer group ENDS Cigarette Smoke Thailand, said the Hong Kong Legislative Council (Legco) decided to suspend the discussions on the proposed ban on vaping products, after some members of Legco’s Bills Committee on Smoking cited scientific studies showing that e-cigarettes, HnB and the likes have much lower levels of toxicants compared to combustible cigarettes, according to a release on pressat.co.uk.

He noted that after nine meetings, including three public hearings, the committee which was established in March 2019 decided to end the discussions on the vaping ban on June 2, 2020. The members of the committee also expressed concern that an outright ban would create more illegal channels and that the products could end up in the hands of underage users.

“The Hong Kong experience sets forward a good example of listening to opinions and engaging all parties involved, including the public sector—something that the policymakers in Thailand have avoided so far,” Saligupta said.

Saligupta said his group will petition the Thai government to also set up a committee to study e-cigarettes and find suitable control channels that will enable adult Thai cigarette smokers to find safer alternatives.

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RELX Presents Infinity

Image: RELX

RELX Technology has launched two new e-cigarettes: Infinity and Essential.

Using independently developed “super smooth performance” technology, both products offer full flavor and “velvety smooth” puffs, according to RELX.

“The Infinity demonstrates our focus on relentless technological innovation,” said RELX CEO Kate Wang. “I’m proud of the entire RELX global team for creating a beautifully designed device with superior technology, and with a dedication to innovation that RELX is now globally known for.”

To ensure leak resistance and high quality, RELX’s engineers tested more than 12,000 Infinity pods. The company has submitted patent applications for more than 50 innovations used in the device. In March 2020, the Infinity was awarded the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2020.

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Study: Assessment of Relative Risk Determined by Questioning

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The share of people who believe e-cigarettes are equally harmful or more harmful than traditional cigarettes depends on how the question is asked, according to new research published in Tobacco Control.

Tobacco companies often claim that a large proportion of the population perceives potential modified risk tobacco products as equally or more harmful than cigarettes, and argue misperceptions need to be corrected using modified risk claims.

However, the studies they cite predominantly use one specific measurement of comparative risk, according to the researchers.

Image: Tobacco Control

The authors studied the way questions were posed in the 2017 Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Survey. When asked directly to compare harms of e-cigarettes and cigarettes, 33.9 percent of participants identified e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes, 36.4 percent reported equal harm, 4.3 percent said e-cigarettes were more harmful and 25.3 percent said, “I don’t know.”

When asked indirectly, however, 42.1 percent identified e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes, 23.8 percent said they were of equal harm, 7.1 percent perceived e-cigarettes to be more harmful and 27.1 percent did not know.

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EAS Submits PMTA for Leap and Leap Go Vapor Products

Credit: Timothy S. Donahue

Finally, some positive news for the vapor industry. The much anticipated premarket tobacco product applications (PMTA) for the Leap pod system and Leap Go disposable were delivered to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday. E-Alternative Solutions (EAS), an independent, family-owned innovator of consumer-centric brands, is seeking authorization for the marketing and sale of its wide-ranging portfolio of Leap and Leap Go vapor products.

“We are pleased to take this important step in demonstrating our commitment to the vapor industry, retailers and adult smokers seeking an alternative to combustible cigarette smoking with our Leap and Leap Go vapor products,” said Jacopo D’Alessandris, president and CEO of EAS.

Jacopo D’Alessandris

“At EAS, we have always held ourselves to high standards, from supplying adult consumers with products they can trust to consistently following ethical marketing practices. We are confident in the strong merits of our PMTAs and want to thank our compliance and research teams for developing and delivering thorough submissions.”

The submission of PMTAs by EAS plays an integral role in supporting the proposition that Leap and Leap Go vapor products are appropriate for the protection of public health, according to a press release. The collective 75,000+ page PMTA submissions for Leap and Leap Go are the result of months of hard work and investigation that included an assessment of the stability of the products over time, toxicological formula reviews, toxicology testing, an assessment of abuse liability, label comprehension studies and behavioral studies.

In addition, EAS undertook an extensive review of available literature on vapor products related to health effects, behavioral factors and toxicological end points. Further, an exacting risk assessment was conducted across many areas of potential risk for Leap and Leap Go products, according to the release.

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Respira to Submit Nebulizer For FDA Approval

Photo: Respira Technologies

Respira Technologies plans to submit an inhaler device to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by late 2021 for authorization as nicotine-replacement therapy.

The company aims to disrupt a $618 billion market dominated by decades-old gums and patches from pharmaceutical companies as well as tobacco companies’ electronic nicotine-delivery devices with a nebulizer that converts nicotine to an aerosol.

Based in West Hollywood, California, USA, Respira Technologies says that the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked new interest in quitting, and today’s users of vapor devices and e-cigarettes need updated cessation products.

“The reality is we have folks who are addicted to nicotine who never tried combustible products before,” Respira CEO Mario Danek told Bloomberg Technology, referring to tobacco products that are burned like cigarettes and cigars.

“They’re used to sleeker products, and we have that design.”

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Montana Latest State to Propose Ban on Flavored E-Liquids

Credit: Mark McCollom

The health department in the U.S. state of Montana is proposing a permanent ban on the sale of flavored vaping products in response to increasing youth e-cigarette use, the agency said Tuesday.

“This is a serious health issue in Montana that is causing major health consequences for our youth, driving a lifelong addiction to nicotine,” Sheila Hogan, director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services said in a statement.

An estimated 22,500 Montana middle and high school students currently vaping, the health department said in supporting the ban.

“Sadly, most individuals who are currently addicted to nicotine started using these products before the age of 18, and youth are enticed by the flavors,” Todd Harwell, the health department’s Safety Division administrator, said in a statement.

The department has the authority to adopt and enforce rules regarding public health issues. The agency will take public comments on the proposed rule during a virtual hearing on July 16, as well as by mail, fax or email through July 24.

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Experts: Possible Post-Covid Boom for Vapor Market

Credit: Timothy S. Donahue

The marijuana market took a big hit last year after consumers of black market THC vaping products started to become ill, often with fatal consequences. As a result, companies have been on high alert, making safety a priority when crafting both nicotine and cannabis vape products, according to an article on Forbes.com.

With Covid-19 still a reality, experts are foreseeing a boom in the vaping market this summer. So, what else do they see in their crystal ball post COVID-19? Find out below. Among those weighing in are Tom Brooksher, CEO of Clear Cannabis Inc; Cortney Smith, CEO and founder of DaVinci; Dan Gardenswartz, chief financial officer of Spherex; and Elizabeth Hogan, vice president of brands at GCH Inc (parent company of Willie’s Remedy and Willie’s Reserve).

The Forbes article expresses that the following Q&A has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

Iris Dorbian: Why do you think the vape market will see a boom in the summer?

Tom Brooksher: Traditionally, summer is a strong season for cannabis sales as people purchase our products to enhance their vacations and time spent outdoors. As restrictions are lifted, we expect a pent-up demand for cannabis products that can be conveniently used in conjunction with outdoor activities. We also expect the phased reopening of tourism in key tourist/cannabis markets, such as Nevada, California, Colorado and Florida, to positively impact vape product sales.

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Report: CBD Drink Sales to Reach $2.8 Billion by 2025

A recent report states that the global cannabis beverages market size is expected to reach $2.8 Billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 17.8 percent. The report by Grand View Research looked at alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages using either Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“By component, the market is segmented into Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The demand of THC infused cannabis beverages is majorly driven by rising product demand from adult consumers for recreational purposes,” the report states. “Rising demand for the therapeutic effects of the component along with the euphoria it provides is expected to bode well for the growth of the segment in the forthcoming years.”

I contrast, the CBD infused cannabis drinks are registered the fastest growth in (prior years). Also, the demand is expected to witness a surge over the forecasted period owing to the non-psychoactive properties of CBD, according to the report. Lack of psychoactive effect in the CBD drinks is widening its scope for usage of the drinks in medical purposes.

Many consumers are considering CBD drinks as a wellness and anti-inflammatory products, such as kombucha-a probiotic drink. This drink can potentially be used for treating chronic pain, anxiety, substance use disorders and central nervous system diseases. These factors are expected to boost the adoption of the product, resulting in the growth of the segment.”

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South Africa Vape Group Decries Tobacco Link

The South African vaping industry is demanding to be allowed to sell its products online and for delivery during lockdown level3. They also want to be disassociated from the tobacco sector.

Vapour Products Association of South Africa (VPASA) chief executive Asanda Gcoyi told The Star that the narrative that vapour products, cigarettes and tobacco products were the same was problematic, according to a story posted on iol.co.za. “Vaping is not smoking, those are two different things. Both vaping and cigarettes contain nicotine, but nicotine is not what kills people in smoking, people die because of the tar,” she said.

Gcoyi added that categorising them together caused serious problems, because of the global agenda of harm reduction. “There are world associations that are pushing for tobacco harm reduction and South Africa is one of those countries, so it baffles us that we know what we know, yet we’re choosing to pretend that we don’t know the science and that vaping is less harmful,” she said.

The VPASA is calling for the government to allow vapour products to be purchased online and for delivery during lockdown level 3, according to the story.

The chief executive said the lockdown had been very bad for the vapour products industry, because the sector largely consisted of small businesses. She added that most of the business owners were former smokers who found a safe alternative and then opened shops.

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Consumer Group: Harm Reduction Is a Human Right

Photo: Horst Winkler from Pixabay

The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) is calling on policymakers to recognize the benefits of tobacco harm reduction in advance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

According to ETHRA, reduced-risk products such as e-cigarettes and snus are providing a gateway out of smoking for millions of Europeans, yet across the continent, consumer access to these products is being denied or is under threat.

Today, the organization launched a manifesto to promote appropriate regulation of innovative solutions for people who wish to continue using nicotine in far safer forms than smoking tobacco, as well as on behalf of the many smokers who may be able to quit through switching to these products in the future.

Among other things, the manifesto calls for access to harm reduction, including tobacco harm reduction, to be recognized as a human right; for consumers of safer nicotine products to be recognized as essential stakeholders in discussions of policy; and for the regulation for safer nicotine products to reflect the risks relative to the risks from smoking. 

What’s more, regulators must recognize that having a wide choice of products and flavors is key to the success of safer nicotine products in enabling people to stop smoking, according to the manifesto. Regulation must consider the harm to adults when considering bans intended to protect youth, and tax policy must consider that high taxation of safer nicotine products increases rates of smoking.

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UKVIA: U.K. Vape Shops Well-Positioned for Reopening

Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

The entrepreneurial spirit displayed by vape shops during the U.K. government’s 10-week coronavirus lockdown will help them bounce back after the economy reopens, according to the U.K. Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA).

On Monday, the government announced it would allow vape shops to reopen June 15.

The UKVIA said it is “immensely proud” of vaping businesses for the responsible approach they have taken during the lockdown.

John Dunne

“The response from the industry to the challenging conditions has been both staggering and exemplary,” said John Dunne, director at UKVIA. “I know that our members that make up a large share of the vaping market have been working around the clock to provide online and home delivery services to the 3.2 million vapers across the country.

Dunne believes that the industry will be well placed to more than meet the social distancing guidance when shops reopen.

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Puff Bar Owner Files $75 Million Copyright Suit

Credit: Puff Bar

DS Technology Licensing, the owner of registered trademarks associated with the Puff Bar vapor device, and Puff Inc., an authorized US distributor, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against over 20 Chinese and American companies accused of distributing counterfeit vaping devices, according to a story on businesswire.com.

The companies included as defendants include international manufacturer and distributor CACUQ, US distributors, e-commerce companies, and brick and mortar retail stores. The lawsuit addresses both counterfeit “Puff Bar” vapor devices as well as knockoff products identified as “Puff Smart,” “Puff Mini,” “Puff Stig,” and “Airis Puff” and seeks $50 million in restitutionary and $25 million in punitive damages.

Defendants in the lawsuit have infringed on the famous “Puff” and “Puff Bar” marks by introducing competing devices which use the stylized “Puff” associated with Puff Bar Vapor Devices as well as by openly selling fake or counterfeit Puff Bar vapor devices. Defendants are believed to be only a small number of the violators, as the anti-counterfeit verification system at puffbar.com has identified thousands of retail stores at which consumers bought devices which failed the check.

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Los Angeles Vape Shops Challenging Flavor Ban

Credit: John Caroro

A new Los Angeles County ordinance that prevents the sale of flavored tobacco products is being challenged in court by vape shop owners.

On May 4, CA Smoke & Vape Association and Ace Smoke Shop filed a federal lawsuit against the rule that also requires businesses to obtain two additional licenses and imposes new tobacco product standards according to legalnewsline.com, the “great majority” of vapor products and devices will be prohibited, the lawsuit says. It complains that products containing THC are exempted, even though it is “the primary source linked to the outbreak” of recent illnesses, the lawsuit states.

“Similarly, the ordinance makes no distinction between the black-market vaping products at the center of that outbreak and the FDA-regulated products produced by legitimate manufacturers,” the lawsuit states. “Instead, the ordinance implements a blanket prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco products to all persons, threatening to destroy an entire industry and the livelihoods of Los Angeles County residents.”

The plaintiffs in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:20-cv-04065 are represented by Jawlakian Law Group.

 

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