Walking into any one of the local vape shops, one will see – and smell – a large variety of vape flavors like green apple and piña colada with names like Bubble Raze. This may soon be a thing of the past if President Donald Trump’s most recent ban takes effect.
President Trump recently announced an initiative to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarette products. This comes on the heels of multiple deaths the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are linking to vaping.
The final parameters will take several weeks to complete and come out. While many people seem supportive of it because of the recent health scares, some local vape shops feel differently.
“I’m pretty worried,” said Jadon Harrison, assistant manager of Maxx Electronic Cigarettes East in Bloomington. “I am reasonably certain that if that happens, I won't have a job.”
Harrison and Moh Fall, co-owner of Vape Rush in College Mall, view the decision as misguided and see a possibility of negative repercussions.
“It will definitely slow down business dramatically but that’s not even the sad part,” said Fall. “Our customers are hopefully going to quit everything, but I’m 95% sure that most of these people that have successfully quit cigarettes will go back to cigarettes.”
They see the best use of vaping as a tool for people trying to quit smoking and worry how the ban on flavored products would affect those customers. Both of them used to smoke, but quit by vaping instead.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials would leave only the tobacco flavor for those who still want to use vaping as a smoking alternative. Harrison said this is an odd decision because menthol-flavored cigarettes can still be purchased.
Harrison said everyone likes things that taste good, not just kids, so the ban seems pointless.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Juul Labs Inc. is deciding if it is going to push back on the ban. The ban is similar to a 2018 ban which required the company to stop selling specific flavors like mango, as those were seen to encourage teens to use the device.
The company disagrees with banning menthol and mint flavor and argues that if their company goal is to help smokers quit, they should offer alternatives for those who smoke flavored cigarettes.
The CDC and FDA have been investigating the epidemic but haven’t found a definitive cause. As of Wednesday, there are 380 confirmed cases of lung illness associated with the use of the various vaping products.
Six deaths have been confirmed, with the first in August and the latest one reported Tuesday.
Both Harrison and Fall believe the deaths aren’t being caused by legal vaping products, but by illegally obtained THC cartridges that can be used in a vaping device.
According to the CDC, most patients have admitted to using THC cartridges, but some have reported only using e-cigarette products containing nicotine.
The CDC is currently investigating the cause of the health issues, but recommends no one start vaping, unless it’s to quit cigarettes. The website also advises to not use THC cartridges or others that have been modified in anyway.
People who are currently using these products should monitor themselves for the symptoms, which include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever or abdominal pain.
“Vaping is not necessarily a good thing,” Fall said. “ If you care about being 100% healthy, just breath in normal air, but for an adult over the age of 18 who has smoked and would like to quit, vaping is a better alternative than continuing to smoke cigarettes.”
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