What if you had a new, popular technology that was creating hundreds of new jobs for New Mexicans in this economically-challenging time? What if, at the same time, this technology was replacing an old, more harmful product that had been detrimental to Americans’ health for decades?

Smart politicians would push to encourage and incentivize this life-saving technology. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. A burgeoning industry could be under attack from bureaucracies in Washington. There is a debate going on right now in Congress over how to fix new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vapor product regulations that would gravely disrupt the new vaping industry unless those FDA rules are amended.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 480,000 people die from smoking in the United States alone every year. The health effects of vaping are being studied and debated, but study after study has found the health effects of vaping to be safer than smoking. Vaping has also helped large numbers of people quit smoking.

Senator Heinrich can continue to help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people annually by supporting the Cole-Bishop amendment already passed by the House of Representatives in an agricultural spending bill this year. The amendment would prevent the FDA from applying an arbitrary application and approval date – also known as the predicate date – to existing vaping technology. If the Congress fails to fix the FDA rules, our federal government could be complicit in keeping smoking rates higher than they would otherwise be.

Senator Heinrich, along with New Mexico’s delegation as a whole, should work to correct the ill-conceived predicate date of the FDA’s rules.

It is not difficult. Regulators must take their cues from Congress and, while further study and even some reasonable regulations are worth consideration, there is growing consensus that vaping is a safer alternative. For that reason alone, it is impossible to justify the FDA’s currently-proposed regulatory scheme which would effectively prohibit almost all of the vapor products in the marketplace today until they have been subjected to FDA’s complex approval process.

And then there are the jobs. New Mexico faces the 2nd-highest unemployment rate in the nation at 6.7 percent. More than 4,200 New Mexicans lost their jobs in September alone.
While they may disagree on how to do it, New Mexico’s entire Congressional delegation acknowledges the need for more jobs back home. And, when it comes to private sector jobs, two of New Mexico’s real growth areas are in micro-breweries and the vaping sector.

No matter what you think about the viability or morality of these industries, the fact is that people today are demanding unique, locally-brewed beer and unique, safer ways of consuming nicotine. These industries are paying millions of dollars in taxes and employing thousands of people throughout our state. If Senator Heinrich is serious about doing what he can to preserve and expand job opportunities in our economically-troubled state, it would behoove him to help amend the FDA rules so that they do not inadvertently wreck an industry that is providing worthwhile benefits to consumers.

Average New Mexicans, especially vape users, traditional smokers, and those trying to quit, can help by contacting Senator Heinrich and their respective Representative and tell them to “Fix the FDA’s new vaping rules!”

Paul Gessing is the President of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility