Congress must pass vaping regulations

Many important issues in Florida and the United States do not get media attention during election time. Now that we are past the elections, I am prompted to remind everyone about an important issue regarding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vape products and cigars that will help inform the public on this current and important topic.

There is an amendment at the federal level that will allow vapor products and cigars to be grandfathered in under the FDA in 2016. The current date of the FDA’s rules for these products is Feb. 15, 2007 and if this amendment does not pass and the date remains, it will prevent a majority of vapor and cigar products currently on the marketplace from being sold until they navigate through huge delays in the FDA’s application process.

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. Moreover, it will not only prevent an upheaval in the marketplace, it will provide needed safety guidelines on vaping products.

This amendment has been coined the Cole-Bishop amendment and was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support and was passed by the House of Representatives in the 2017 agriculture appropriations bill.

We need our elected officials to support this amendment and any efforts to modernize the predicate date of the FDA’s rules throughout the federal legislative process. We need to encourage and thank our congressional leaders for their support, as it is currently being considered in the Senate. 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.

Julio Fuentes,

president, Florida State

Hispanic Chamber

of Commerce, Lake Worth