Added requirements at the border, tracking scan data will go a long way, say conference panelists
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With illicit vape products continuing to flood the market, a panel of experts on the issue said simple solutions like improvements to import-reporting forms and tracking scan data can help slow the deluge.
Speaking at a conference of administrators, attorneys, and business people on tobacco regulation, Lillian Ortega, a regulatory consultant with Chemular, Hudson, Mich., said updating requirement for importers to declare additional information as they approach screening can help customs officials spot illegal vaping products entering the market. Currently, she said, much of that information is optional.
On a panel at a tobacco regulation conference sponsored by the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) in Washington, D.C., this past October, Ortega noted that, in the long term, forms would need greater changes than those she mentioned, but that step would need more complicated approvals. In the meantime, the simple updates would help customs officials filter shipments that come in.
Ortega’s expertise came from working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Tobacco Products, prompting her to call for more communication between enforcement agencies. “Addressing the challenge of illegal [vape] in the marketplace requires more than just an single solution and it’s more than just the effort of single agency,” she told the audience of about 200 attendees. “It demands a concerted multi-agency and multi-pronged approach with everyone marching to the same beat.”
Also speaking at the conference, Russell Quick, president of Kaival Marketing Services, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., said regulatory agencies can use the same data in a recently published ranking of top-selling disposable vape devices as a “roadmap” to identifying companies currently breaking the rules.
Quick, whose company markets the BIDI® Stick brand of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), said a new ranking from New York-based Nielsen shows 10 of the 11 top-selling disposable ENDS were not compliant with the FDA’s regulatory processes. Six brands were named in a lawsuit filed in October by major cigarette maker Altria Group, through its e-cigarette operation, NJOY, LLC, over non-compliant products.
“Scan data now is at our fingertips … and you can literally pull this data to see which retailers are selling which noncompliant product and which wholesalers are distributing [these products]—that’s one good way to revolutionize vape enforcement,” Quick said while speaking at the conference. “What’s really hurting the industry are illegal, non-compliant bad actors in the U.S. vaping market undermining the potential of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit.”
If law enforcement agencies started using scan data and calling out illegal activity, the vaping industry could ultimately regulate itself, Quick said. Most major stakeholders along the supply chain already follow the rules, he said, but non-compliant companies take a big chunk of the overall business.
For its part, Bidi Vapor, the maker of the BIDI® Stick, submitted premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) for all 11 of its flavored devices. Those PMTAs are currently under the FDA’s scientific review. During that evaluation period, Bidi Vapor is able to market its products, subject to FDA enforcement discretion.
ABOUT BIDI VAPOR
Based in Melbourne, Florida, Bidi Vapor maintains a commitment to responsible, adult-focused marketing, supporting age-verification standards and sustainability through its BIDI® Cares recycling program. Bidi Vapor’s premier device, the BIDI® Stick, is a premium product made with high-quality components, a UL-certified battery and technology designed to deliver a consistent vaping experience for adult smokers 21 and over.
ABOUT KAIVAL MARKETING SERVICES
Kaival Marketing Services (KMS) has been the primary marketing and sales service provider for Kaival Brands Innovations Group since 2020. Kaival Brands is the U.S. distributor of Bidi Vapor products. In addition to its sales force, KMS brings over 100 contracted employees dedicated to supporting Kaival Brands’ management team.
ABOUT KAIVAL BRANDS
Based in Grant-Valkaria, Florida, Kaival Brands is a company focused on incubating innovative and profitable adult-focused products into mature and dominant brands, with a current focus on the distribution of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) also known as “e-cigarettes”. Our business plan is to seek to diversify into distributing other nicotine and non-nicotine delivery system products (including those related to hemp-derived cannabidiol (known as CBD) products). Kaival Brands and Philip Morris Products S.A. (via sublicense from Kaival Brands) are the exclusive global distributors of all products manufactured by Bidi Vapor.