FDA stopping innovation? Vaping Industry and FDA Ruling

blog-fdavsvapeThroughout the 4 years I have been walking on the USC campus, I have observed that the number of e-cigarette smokers (or vapers) has increased. This is interesting because there have been multiple anti-vaping campaign on public billboards, bus advertisements, and TV advertisements. The campaign Stillblowingsmoke has been around in California since 2015 and it was funded by Food and Drugs Administration. Yet, the vaping industry have been growing its sales revenue from $20 million in 2008 to $3 billion in 2015. Most consumers like myself vape to quit smoking and there has been successful data found in the United Kingdom. The researchers in the University of London found out that the chance of quitting smoking cigarettes rises up to 50% with vaping devices compare to the traditional anti-smoking aids like nicotine gum or patches. It seems good and all, but the recent regulation put by FDA has put a huge hinge on the vaping industry.91506-14288673495081792-devon-shire

In this year’s May, FDA finalized regulations on tobacco products and e-cigarettes. According to Washington Post article regarding this regulation, the regulation does not affect tobacco products but affects significantly on vaping products. The article states that there is a “part of the rule that ‘deems’ e-cigarettes to be tobacco products and subjects them to extensive regulatory requirement is likely to harm public health than to help it”.

E-cigarettes are fairly young product and the extent of its harm is still in needs of further long-term research; however, the recent findings in Public Health of England in 2015 stated that the use of vaping products are about 95% safer than smoking tobacco AND they can help smokers to quit. public-health-england-e-cigarette-safetyWhy is the regulation necessary, then? The mission statement of the FDA is “responsible for protecting the public healthy by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation”. With that in mind, it does not make much sense why the FDA would put regulations on them. However, the vaping industry associates speculate the Big Tobacco being involved with the FDA because the regulation helps the Big Tobacco to lessen its competition.

The regulation stated above has more dreadful effect on the vaping industry than just deeming its products as tobacco products. According to article in The Fiscal Times, the vaping products needs to apply for tobacco product acknowledgement by the FDA. For that FDA acknowledgement application, it costs between $3 million to $20 million and will take average of 1,713 hours to complete. For the industry that is composed of small business owners, the new regulation sets a huge burden on them to continue the businesses.

For Big Tobacco, this regulation is hugely beneficial because it can decrease the size of vaping industry and the consumers will not have much option other than cigarettes. Considering how this regulation is set up by the FDA, this seems wrong because the Big Tobacco should be the least industry the FDA should help. The speculations go on about how Big Tobacco lobbies the FDA so much to secure its market. Though this speculation sounds ironic, the consumers of vaping industry and the store owners can only think how the innovative vaping industry is becoming the victim of capitalism.

Black Friday: Great for scoring deals, not for predicting the economy

Stuffed to the gills with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes, millions of Americans will descend on nearly ever major retail store after gobbling up their Thanksgiving feast on November 24.

What was once a one-day shopping spree at the beginning of the holiday season has turned into a five-day consumer spending marathon. Contrary to its name, Black Friday sales generally begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving and continue to Saturday followed by Small Business Sunday and Cyber Monday.

This year’s Black Friday consumer spending is projected to be the highest ever, reaching the $3 billion mark. Between the biggest shopping days of the weekend, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Adobe Digital Insights predicts total spending to be $8.4 billion.

Considering that 68% of the GDP of the United States comes from consumer spending, investors and economists have used sales figures from Black Friday as a leading economic indicator. High sales are interpreted to depict strong spending throughout the holiday shopping season while low sales are cause for concern for stores and investors alike.

While there is much buzz about predictions leading up to the big day, some are not convinced that Black Friday figures correlate with overall holiday shopping success. Some opponents claim that sales figures released by various organizations, the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Commerce Department, are often conflicting.

One study, conducted by economist Paul Dales, found that Black Friday shopping has historically had no correlation with the outcomes of American holiday shopping as a whole. In 1998, Black Friday percent change from year-to-year retail sales increased while the same metric for the holiday season as a whole decreased. Contrarily in 2009, percent change in Black Friday sales dipped while holiday season retail sales decreased precipitously.

These figures fail to communicate an association between Black Friday spending and holiday spending or the economy at large.


A comparison between percent change in Black Friday retail sales and annual GDP growth do not always match up either. Most noticeably after the 2008 financial crisis, Black Friday spending dropped off but not nearly to the degree that the American economy shuttered following the collapse of the housing market.

Even so, Black Friday shopping makes up a considerable amount of annual American consumer spending which is factored into GDP but it should not be seen as a highly dependable indicator of economic health.