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Combatting China's influence – the urgent need for state vape directory bills

By Christopher Arps
web posted April 8, 2024

Children vapingThe Chinese government is actively pursuing our children. We've witnessed it with the Chinese-owned TikTok app that encourages our youth to engage in risky behaviors. The next avenue they are using to exploit our young people is electronic cigarettes, more popularly known as vaping.

Due to the failures of President Joe Biden's Food and Drug Administration (FDA), illegal Chinese vapes are taking over the U.S. e-cigarette market. China, notorious for its lax regulations and counterfeit culture, has capitalized on America's demand for vaping products. With little oversight, unscrupulous manufacturers flood our markets with cheap, unregulated, disposable vaping devices. The stark reality is this: China's pursuit of profit has come at the expense of America's youth.

Walk into any vape shop, and you will see store shelves full of these illicit vapes in flavors like "Candy Crush" and "Dragon Berry." They are all made by companies either owned or licensed by the Chinese state tobacco monopoly. Ironically, Chinese citizens can't buy these highly-flavored devices because their government forbids the sale of these products out of concern for kids' health. But they're fine to export to the U.S., as evidenced by the fact that three of the top five brands used by kids are illicit Chinese-made vapes. This exploitation of America's youth is a calculated assault on the health and future of our nation.

While knowing these products are illegal in the U.S., Chinese companies actively work to evade detection by hiding them among other items. When the FDA finally does catch on to them, they simply make a quick packaging change and resume shipping.

It's estimated today that half of the U.S. vapor market is made up of illicit Chinese disposable vapes. That means millions of Americans are using these unregulated products. It also means that billions of dollars are flowing back to the Chinese Communist government each year—billions that can be used for military and economic purposes that are not in the best interest of our country.

Despite this national security threat, Biden's FDA has been slow to act. They've not gone after any of the major Chinese manufacturers, nor have they attempted to stop any of their readily-visible American enablers. And the FDA won't even tell responsible US retailers what vape products are legal to sell and which are being peddled by illicit manufacturers trying to make a quick buck.

In light of the FDA's glaring incompetence in stemming this tide, it falls upon individual states to take decisive action.

The introduction of state vape directory bills across the country represents a proactive approach to curbing the proliferation of illegal Chinese vaping products. By establishing a comprehensive database of vapor products that are compliant with federal regulations and may be sold in the state, listed by brand and manufacturer, which is accessible to consumers and law enforcement, states can empower individuals to make informed choices and provide retailers with the tools necessary to ensure they are not selling their customers illegal products.

Thankfully, states have already stepped in where Biden's FDA has failed. Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, and Oklahoma have already passed vape directory bills, and many others are actively considering them. I hope other states will follow suit this legislative session.

By establishing clear guidelines and accountability measures, we foster a competitive marketplace where responsible businesses thrive, and consumers can trust the products they purchase. This transparency is essential to create a level playing field where all players abide by the same rules.

Passing state vape directory bills is a matter of safeguarding public health, protecting American businesses, and confronting China's predatory practices head-on. Conservatives must lead the charge where Biden's FDA has not. In advocating for these common-sense reforms, we are committing to protecting American businesses and consumers. Failure to act only emboldens our adversaries and perpetuates a cycle of harm that we cannot ignore. ESR

Christopher Arps is an ambassador with the Project 21 black leadership network and a managing partner with the public affairs and communications consulting firm Red Tail Strategies. This was originally published at RedState


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