Op-Ed: President Biden Should Use Small Business Week to Save Lives | Opinion

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This year, President Joe Biden publicly hailed Small Business Week (May 1-7) noting that “Small businesses across America have shaped and embodied our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit and made advance our economy. In this year’s statement, the president acknowledged how the “pandemic…has devastated America’s small business community.”

Unfortunately, thousands of small businesses are struggling and are not recognized by the government. The most underrated small businesses are in the steam industry. Despite helping thousands of people quit smoking, vaping product manufacturers and vape shops that sell harm reduction products are wrongly accused by many in the tobacco control field of to be “Big Tobacco”.

These small businesses are key to promoting harm reduction. Vape shop staff help smokers find the right device, flavor and level of nicotine to “replace the physical, psychological, social, cultural and identity dimensions that were once enjoyed by smoking,” using a product that is 95 percent safer than smoking cigarettes. Vape shops not only help customers quit smoking, they also help them quit smoking.

Unlike government-funded smoking cessation services, the services provided by vape shops to consumers do not cost taxpayers a penny. The use of vaping products could also reduce taxpayer-funded expenses for people with smoking-related illnesses.

The steam industry also makes a substantial contribution to the national economy, but excessive regulations lead to the erosion of this financial contribution. Hundreds of small businesses have been closed due to ideological antipathy to safer smoking alternatives. The industry saw a sharp decline in jobs and income from 2018 to 2021, representing a reduction of more than $2.3 billion in total economic output.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process is so expensive that most small vapor companies don’t have the finance or manpower to comply. . This leaves the door open to products sold by major tobacco companies and a handful of major vaping companies. The few marketing injunctions granted to e-cigarette products are not products sold in most vape shops. In fact, the FDA has denied nearly a million products made by small businesses and sold by vape shops.

The vapor industry has been crippled by such regulations, along with proposals for draconian taxes, product bans, and a stubborn refusal by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to acknowledge that the so-called vaping lung scare in 2019 was unrelated to regulated nicotine. some products.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the pressure on many of these small businesses, as they were deemed non-essential and had to close for an extended period. Many had to get loans just to stay afloat and pay employees, rent and utilities.

Steam companies have closed, loans are defaulted and handed over to collection, commercial spaces are empty, landlords have gone bankrupt and employees have lost their jobs. Vaping consumers wishing to remain smoke-free find themselves with high-nicotine products sold at gas stations or a return to smoking.

The sad truth is that 480,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related causes. Businesses owned by former smokers help members of their community quit smoking and work hard to reduce annual deaths. The steam industry is eager to see President Biden’s statement prioritizing investments in “Made in America” ​​manufacturing so that small businesses can innovate, compete, and build the products of tomorrow become a reality. But words will not be enough. Some power needs to be put back in the hands of the little guys and regulations that only protect big business need to be stopped.

If Biden really wants to celebrate “small business America and their enormous contributions to American life and prosperity,” he should ask government institutions to stop actions that destroy local businesses that have saved and could save thousands of lives. several thousand more.

Martin Cullip is an international member of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Consumer Center and is based in South London, UK. Kim Murray is a research fellow at the Consumer Center of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

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