I’ve been thinking about these ominous, looming FDA E-cigarette regulations a lot lately, as I’m sure many of you have. I hate to see our side falling into a reactionary position and I would love to see a few things being done ahead of time so that when these restrictions and regulations are unleashed, we aren’t caught unawares. These pre-emptive actions would be prepared in advance so they are ready to be put into play the moment they are needed. I should add that I’m just a poor blogger (he’s just a poor boy from a poor family! Thunderbolts and lightning… very, very. OK, I’m done being ridiculous)… and I have absolutely no means, money, or ability to do any of these things myself, so this is just a collection of ideas without blueprints, so to speak. If none of them can be accomplished, then none of them can be accomplished… but I feel, at the very least, that I should speak my mind, just in case one of these ideas snowballs into something big. So, without further adieu, here’s my short list of brainstorm droppings:
- I feel like we should be (and quite possible already are) preparing a class action, antitrust lawsuit against the FDA and Big Tobacco now, in order to stay ahead of the proverbial power curve if and when regulations are put in place that effectively eliminate all but the extremely wealthy from participating in the E-cigarette industry. If regulations are enacted that require unnecessary, multi-million dollar testing/licensing/equipping fees, the majority of this industry will be essentially banned from existence, along with the American Dream. A move like this one by the FDA and other regulatory agencies would benefit only the pre-existing, monopolistic Big Tobacco corporations who already not only meet these regulations, but in many cases actually suggested to the FDA these very regulations that would benefit them.
- There are other species of vegetation that contain nicotine, besides the most popular of these, tobacco. Potatoes are one such option. Obviously, the amount of nicotine in a potato is minuscule next to that produced by a tobacco plant, but the science of hydroponics has come a long way over the years, thanks in no small part to all the stoners out there (was I not supposed to say that?) There has to be a way of breeding a new, hybrid type of potato (or other nicotine producing plant) that is bred for the single purpose of producing a much higher concentration of nicotine. Again, I have no idea how that could be done, but we’ve accomplished amazing scientific feats as a scientifically-advanced society and I refuse to believe that this undertaking can’t possibly become another one of them.
- In a similar vein as the previous suggestion, there are a number of herbs out there that are known to mimic the effects of nicotine, even to the point of molecularly adhering to the nicotine receptors in our brains. Lobelia and Skullcap are two examples of these types of herbs. I’m sure it’s entirely possible to convert these to E-liquid somehow, making the vaping of these chemicals perfectly mimic the vaping of nicotine. If there is no nicotine, it can’t be a nicotine product, can it?
- I’ve written several times in the past about the potential of vaping vitamins in addition to, or in lieu of nicotine. The health advantages of this would be very difficult for the almighty FDA to deny. Suddenly, an entire segment of society would no longer be vitamin deficient (which I’m told is a growing issue here in the States), in addition to leaving their evil nicotine addiction behind forever. A little research would need to be done, of course, to make sure that the vitamin molecules being used were light enough to emulsify in the vapor droplets of atomized glycerin/glycol, but I think that our industry would improve its staying power dramatically if we steered away from the E-“cigarette” stigma and started referring to our technology as a “vapor delivery system.” There are, after all, very few similarities between traditional, analog tobacco cigarettes and E-cigarettes, the sole exception being the inclusion of nicotine. Why not deliver other, healthy substances via vapor as well?
- It might come to a point where we will need to separate our flavors from the nicotine base. This would change the industry dramatically, but it could be a way of keeping the E-cigarette community going if and when all of these ridiculous regulations are put into place. A few larger companies could produce the nicotine in 36mg/ml concentration (so as not to be nearly as dangerous as the standard 100mg/ml concentration which is currently used by E-liquid manufacturers). These 36mg bottles could be sold en masse, and it would be left to E-juice manufacturers to sell zero nic juices to be mixed together with flavors, according to the concentration desired, by the end user.
- And last, I will give a small taste of my bizarre, but sensible, political beliefs. I am a distributist (as opposed to a capitalist, communist, socialist, Democan, Republicrat, etc.) which means that I believe in a fair market, and potential for growth within that market so long as that growth doesn’t outgrow obligations to compassion, charity, fairness, justice, and the like. The few distributist strongholds in the world, such as the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in the Basque Region of Spain, continue to survive in a very stable, unshakable society that has proven to be recession-proof as well as being resistant to extreme instances of both wealth and poverty. The way this is maintained is through co-ops. If E-juice companies were to form cooperatives together, designating a small percentage of their net income to a cooperative capital account, there would be a larger pool of financial resources to pull from in order to meet these potentially, incredibly expensive regulations on the horizon. Also, pooled resources means more bargaining power in the grand game of national politics. Sad, but true.
I would just like to reiterate that I have no idea how to implement any of these suggestions, and this article is being written more as a brainstorming activity than anything else. Maybe someone with the means to make things happen will read it and undertake to see one or more of these suggestions through to fruition. All of these things would be helpful to have in place by the time that the FDA finally starts to make their long-anticipated moves. The longer the FDA waits, the more planning and coordination of efforts will be going on behind the scenes, in the shadows, hand-in-hand with those ever-present Big Tobacco companies, and the pharmaceutical corporations. Therefore, we need to be doing some planning of our own in the mean time.