Today, we expect Congress will release the text of the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill. Unfortunately, the bill will not include the critical Cole-Bishop language for which we all have been advocating. Although the Omnibus does not include language on any tobacco or vapor issues, we know you made your presence felt and voices heard. Disappointed? Yes. Done fighting? No way. VTA will never stop fighting to protect our industry and to protect the rights of thousands of small business innovators like you.

Responding to our call to action only, nearly 5,000 people made more than 15,000 contacts to Congress. The fact that Congress failed to seize this opportunity to strengthen regulations and protect our industry is not the fault of those who stood up and fought. Together, we waged a smart and cohesive battle.

But, we are not done. We will keep growing, keep fighting, and keep defending our vapor industry. In fact, VTA has been working on dual tracks - both legislative and administrative - all year and we will now re-focus our attention to the Trump Administration and the Food & Drug Administration.

To that end, in mid-January of this year, VTA was the first trade association in either the tobacco industry or vapor industry to meet with Commissioner Gottlieb. During the meeting we offered the Commissioner concrete proposals for achieving our shared goals of reducing, if not eliminating, smoking through new vapor product innovation.

Our diverse and professional group of companies was able to present a clear message and concrete proposals to FDA from the perspectives of each segment of our vapor industry, including that of flavoring manufacturers, small vape shop owners, e-liquid manufacturers, device manufacturers, and wholesalers and distributors.

Specifically, we described how the current barriers to innovation threaten consumer and product safety, how our industry's most innovative products are going overseas, and how current regulations, unless drastically changed, will never permit rapid innovation to enhance product safety, public safety, and product efficacy in the U.S. We called on Commissioner Gottlieb to ensure protections for our industry and provide clarity to our members or risk never achieving the true benefits afforded by innovation of vapor products. In addition, we underscored the importance of flavors to adult smokers trying to quit and made it clear that marketing (not flavors) was the real issue.

Our organization is proud to represent small business owners, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and innovators like you. We're proud that so many of you answered the call to action and stood up for our industry. And, we are so proud to work with so many state vapor associations to secure state victories across the country over the past year. We will never stop fighting for our members and their priorities in Washington and State Capitals across the country.

And, with the newly announced ANPRM on flavors - we are just getting started! We will be coordinating an industry response, and we'll be announcing an aggressive campaign regarding the FDA in the coming weeks.

Thank you from everyone at VTA!



Tony Abboud
Executive Director
Vapor Technology Association