September 22, 2019

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Notice of Appeal Filed in Deeming Rule Challenge by Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition and Nicopure Labs

On August 30, 2017, the Right to be Smoke-Free (RSF) Coalition, a non-profit, industry-led trade association of vapor businesses dedicated to advocating for reasonable and responsible laws and regulations, joined Nicopure Labs LLC in appealing the recent decision in Nicopure Labs, LLC and Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition et al. v. Food and Drug Administration et al., Civ. No. 1:16-cv-0878-ABJ to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  The lawsuit challenges aspects of FDA's Deeming Regulation and the Tobacco Control Act as they are being applied to the vapor industry.  The RSF Coalition respectfully disagrees with the conclusions reached by the lower court and believes that both the law and the facts compel a different result. 

While FDA's recent announcement acknowledging the tobacco harm reduction potential of vapor products and extending the compliance policy deadline for Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTAs) for pre-August 8, 2016 vapor products to August 8, 2022 is welcome news, the RSF Coalition believes that there remains much worth fighting for on behalf of the industry - which still faces effectively being banned in a few short years. 

"There is no greater risk to public health than traditional combustible tobacco use-related morbidity and mortality", said Scott Eley, RSF Coalition Director and Co-Founder of coalition member, NicQuid. "We believe vapor products can help make tobacco-related death and disease part of America's past and not it's future. While we fully support all efforts to prevent access to vapor products to kids, we would hate to see a future where FDA's overly burdensome regulatory approach prohibits access to these products by adult smokers looking for an alternative to their tobacco addiction."

Since the Deeming Rule took effect on August 8, 2016, the restrictions on vapor products have been even more onerous than combustible cigarettes, most of which are grandfathered and exempt from FDA's premarket review requirements. Among other things, vapor companies today cannot legally introduce new products, or improve the safety and quality of their existing products, without FDA PMTA authorization; distribute free samples to adults; or make truthful statements about the relative safety of their products. 

The RSF Coalition and Nicopure Labs are being represented in the appeal by Keller and Heckman LLP Partners Eric Gotting and Azim Chowdhury. For more information on the lawsuit and to contribute to the RSF Coalition appeal efforts, visit www.r2bsmokefree.org

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP

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About this Author

Azim Chowdhury, Keller Heckman, ECigarette Research lawyer, FDA Regulatory Compliance Attorney
Partner

Azim Chowdhury joined Keller and Heckman in 2010 and practices in the area of food, drug, and tobacco law. 

Mr. Chowdhury advises domestic and foreign corporations in matters of FDA and international regulatory compliance. In particular, he assists corporations in establishing clearances for food and drug additives in the U.S., Canada, and the European Union, with an emphasis on indirect additives used in food-contact materials.  Mr. Chowdhury has also developed expertise in tobacco and e-vapor product regulation relating to the implementation...

202.434.4230
Eric Gotting, Keller Heckman, ligation attorney, appeals lawyer, personal injury
Partner

Eric Gotting joined Keller and Heckman in 2011. He serves as a partner in the firm's litigation and environmental practice groups specializing in complex civil and appellate matters, with a focus on toxic tort, environmental, and corporate litigation.

Litigation and Environmental Experience

Mr. Gotting has handled cases across the country, having tried matters to verdict and argued appeals before federal and state appellate courts. His experience includes class actions, mass tort litigation, and administrative agency proceedings. Between 1999-2004, Mr. Gotting took leave from private practice and served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Division, Environmental Torts Section, where he defended the federal government in multimillion dollar toxic tort cases filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Mr. Gotting has extensive experience litigating toxic tort cases involving claims of personal injuries and property damage from alleged exposures to materials such as volatile and semi-volatile compounds, specialty chemicals, pesticides, gasoline, radioactive waste, and heavy metals. He defends claims involving the entire range of environmental media, including drinking water, soil, groundwater, and air contamination. He has worked with, and defended against, experts in numerous scientific and business-related fields, including toxicology, geochemistry, hydrogeology, structural engineering, neuropsychology, health physics, survey techniques, statistics, real estate appraisal, and environmental remediation. 

202-434-4269