How Will U.S. E-Liquid Imports Change in 2019?
Great e-liquid comes from all over the world, and one of the highlights of our work here at EasyPuff is that we get to sample everything out there and bring you the best e-liquids that every region of the world has to offer. Those e-liquids include juices from Malaysian companies like Nasty Juice and American companies like Charlie’s Chalk Dust and Mad Hatter. In case you don’t follow the news, though, the U.S. vaping industry is currently going through some major changes. We’d like to take a moment to tell you a bit about those changes because they’re likely to lead to some changes in the American e-liquids that you see at EasyPuff and other New Zealand vape shops in 2019.
Let’s learn a bit more about what’s going on with our vaping friends in the United States.
Nicotine Salt E-Liquid Will Remain Huge in the U.S.
You’ve no doubt noticed that nicotine salt e-liquid is very popular here in New Zealand. Well, nicotine salt is also a big hit in America. In fact, many of the nicotine salt e-liquids that we offer here at EasyPuff are U.S. imports. We even offer JUUL – America’s most popular e-cigarette by a wide margin – right here on this website. The thing about nicotine salt e-liquids, though, is that they’ve so far been available primarily in high nicotine strengths for mouth-to-lung vaping devices. Users of sub-ohm devices want to try nicotine salt e-liquids too, and next year they’re going to get that chance. We expect to see many lower-strength nicotine salt juices in our U.S. e-liquid imports in 2019.
U.S. E-Liquid Companies Will Produce Less Innovative Flavours in 2019
In the United States, a law called the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 governs the marketing practices of the tobacco industry. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating tobacco products, and in 2016, the FDA announced that it intended to extend its authority to include the vaping industry. The FDA now regulates vaping products as if they were tobacco products, and one provision of the Family Smoking Prevention Act – which now covers vaping products – is that no new tobacco product can be released in the United States after 2009 without first going through a complicated FDA approval process.
When the FDA announced its intention to regulate e-cigarettes in 2016, the agency stated that any vaping products already on the market could remain on the market temporarily. Since vaping products are now considered tobacco products by the U.S. government, though – and no vaping product currently on the U.S. market was available in 2009 – every vaping product currently sold in the U.S. will need to begin the FDA approval process for new tobacco products by August 8, 2022. Going forward, any new product will need to complete the approval process before it can be legally released.
Following the FDA’s announcement of its intent to regulate the U.S. vaping industry, companies largely ignored the fact that they were no longer allowed to release new products without approval. In 2018, though, the FDA began sending warning letters to companies that had released vaping products after 2016. Given the fact that the FDA is now monitoring for unapproved products, it’s unlikely that we’ll see many new flavours from U.S. e-liquid companies in 2019. It’s a good thing that we still have so many great e-liquid companies in New Zealand, Malaysia and other regions with skilled e-liquid mixers who are more than able to pick up the slack.
U.S. E-Liquid Packaging Will Become Less Flashy in 2019
The FDA didn’t only crack down on vaping companies for new products in 2019. The agency also sent warning letters to companies whose e-liquid packaging mimicked the designs of sodas, cereals, candies and other foods. The United States currently faces a crisis in its schools; a reported 3.6 million underage children have taken up vaping, and the FDA has ordered the vaping industry to do whatever is necessary to reverse that trend. If the industry is unable to improve that number in 2019, it is possible that the FDA will consider banning all flavoured e-liquids in the U.S.
Adults obviously love flavoured e-liquids. When asked, many adult vapers have credited the availability of interesting e-liquid flavours as a factor that has helped them quit smoking and switch to vaping. Unfortunately, surveys of children suggest that kids also like flavoured e-liquids. Many underage vapers in the U.S. have stated that the availability of attractive flavours was a primary reason why they started vaping.
So, there are three key factors at play in the U.S. e-liquid industry
Adults love flavoured e-liquids and want to buy them. Without those flavours, many adult vapers would be less happy about vaping and might even consider returning to smoking.
Kids also love flavoured e-liquids, but no responsible vaping company wants to sell to children. Doing so wouldn’t just be wrong; it would put the future of the entire U.S. vaping industry in jeopardy.
U.S. e-liquid companies can’t legally release new flavours without first going through the FDA approval process – something no vaping company has yet done. Therefore, those companies will need to find a way to make their existing products less appealing to children.
Since U.S. e-liquid companies can’t simply change their flavours to reduce youth appeal, they’ll need to change the ways in which they market their existing flavours. In 2019, you’ll probably see subtle changes to the names of U.S. e-liquid imports. An e-liquid with a name like “Fruity Cereal Crunch,” to cite a fictitious example, might be rechristened “Breakfast Sunrise” by its manufacturer. A name that deemphasizes an e-liquid’s sweet qualities would likely reduce the potential appeal for children.
You’ve no doubt noticed that many U.S. e-liquid makers use bright colours and flashy designs in their packaging. In a crowded market, e-liquid companies do whatever they can to attract attention. Now, though, the FDA is watching and will call out any e-liquid company making a product that children are likely to find appealing. You’ll therefore see fewer of those bright colours on e-liquid boxes and bottles coming out of the U.S. in 2019. Although the e-liquids themselves will be the same, you’ll see them on vape shop shelves in much plainer packaging.