The United States is the largest market for vape products (34%) and cases of EVALI occur only in the United States. The European Union is the second largest market for vape products (25%), and no cases of EVALI have been reported in the EU to date.
Aside from prohibiting sales to minors (under 18 years old), the US vape market is not regulated. By contrast, the EU market is regulated by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which came into force in May 2016. Safety and quality standards for vaping devices are among the regulations contained in the TDP. These mandate manufacturers disclose toxicological data on ingredients and additives , describe the components and manufacturing process, and comply with limits on heavy metal content.
Rational Implementation of Harm Reduction and Regulation
We are not proposing immediate implementation of regulations as comprehensive as the TDP in the United States. The TDP was implemented carefully, over time, and in sections. This gave ample time for industry and regulatory agencies to coordinate with each other and provide feedback on the requirements. In this manner, only vape devices with a specified threshold of safety are allowed into the consumer market. There have been no reported cases of EVALI in the EU, and we believe this is the predictable outcome of a well-regulated vape market.
The cause of EVALI in the United States remains unknown, but it is evident that not all cases were caused by black market products (ex. at least two verified cases were linked to legal dispensary products in Oregon), and not all were from THC products; 11% of EVALI patients reported using only nicotine products. This suggests poor quality hardware is responsible, and this may be addressed by regulation.
Banning vaping altogether, by contrast, would not be effective, would cost taxpayer money to enforce, and would almost certainly do more harm. Blanket banning would cut the legs out from an adolescent industry on its way to becoming organized and safer, and drive it right back into the black market. Europe has demonstrated it is possible to effectively regulate vaping.
The US already regulates nicotine, and at the state level, THC. Why not regulate the hardware?
The 2014 EU Tobacco Product Directive (TPD): https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/tobacco/docs/dir_201440_en.pdf