The application for Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTA) was September 9, 2020. As tobacco product makers scrambled to get their applications in, tobacco and nicotine users are left wondering about this new development, from what PMTA is to what it will mean for you.
Premarket Tobacco Product Application
The PMTA process is a mandated part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA), a law that was laid out in 2009 after being negotiated by Congress, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers, and lawyers from Philip Morris. The TCA first and foremost protects cigarettes, one of Philip Morris negotiators’ primary goals. Aside from that, the law made bringing new, lower-risk products to market a more difficult endeavor through a high FDA standards.
One way the TCA made these lower-risk products harder to bring to the marketplace is the requirement that the companies prove these products and “appropriate for the protection of public health,” or rather, that they are better for public health than cigarettes. It was a trade for protections of current products that were available, making those more vulnerable but making competing with the original members of Big Tobacco more difficult.
In connection to the TCA, the PMTA was a way to regulate the journey of new tobacco and nicotine products to market. It involved an application that needs to be approved by the FDA before a new product can be introduced and legally sold in the U.S. And it was the deadline for this application that was lost amid the news of the election and pandemic.
What the PMTA Deadline Means for You
The most basic consequence of the passing PMTA deadline is that it will essentially eliminate small-business vape and e-cigarette companies. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois said, “The FDA must clear the market of e-cigarettes that miss the application deadline or have their application denied.”
The challenge with the deadline was the amount of applications the FDA received, making the “likelihood of FDA reviewing all of these applications during the one-year review period… low.” A reason for the high volume of applications was the immense variety of vape juice flavors, especially those made by smaller vape shops. Some of these small shops can have hundreds of products or flavors available to their clientele and each one needs the FDA approval through the PMTA process.
And so, your favorite little local vape shop with the custom flavors and concoctions you can only get there may be in jeopardy.
The Impact on Small Shops and Customers
A reason that smaller vape shops may suffer and lose a good deal of their products comes from the requirement that applicants have scientific studies to assess public health factors of the products, namely the likelihood the product could help wean current smokers off cigarettes and how likely they are to create new nicotine users. Because many smaller shops don’t have access or means to have these scientific tests done, many are trying to use the personal experiences of their customers to get approval of their PMTA.
Ultimately, customers may need to find new favorite tobacco and nicotine products, depending on how the PMTAs of their favorite brands and shops are received. While it may create more difficulty getting certain products or completely change the availability of some products, it will hopefully create safer ways to get a nicotine fix.
So, where does that leave you as the consumer?
What will you be able to buy? Luckily, Buy Pods Now is working to compile as comprehensive a list as possible of all brands that filed PMTA’s. Buy Pods Now also plans to keep their list as up-to-date as possible during the evaluation process. As new information is released, they will be a key source of direction for consumers. If you need help transitioning to a new vape product, you can speak with our friendly and helpful customer service associates. They can direct you to new products and you may find a new favorite.