Vape store owners outraged over possible flavored e-cigarette ban

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Local health officials and vape store owners are reacting to President Trump’s possible ban on flavored vaping products.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary said the Food and Drug Administration will develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors from the market, especially those favored by children.

Officials at the Adams County Health Department said more research needs to be done but those that sell e-cigarettes said their products aren’t the issue.

Owners of vape stores like Main Street Vapor Store and Lounge in Hannibal are outraged over President Trump’s proposal to ban flavored vaping products. If put into effect, they said the ban would wipe out almost every product on their shelves.

“All of it. I have maybe three or four flavors,” said owner Kevin Mitchem. “Even my tobacco flavors have other things added into it like caramel tobacco or peanut tobacco or something like that with something into it.”

Mitchem said a majority of his customers come to him seeking a way to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. Take that away, he said they will go right back to tobacco.

“It kills a lot of people’s ability to quit,” said Mitchem. “They don’t have a choice to get away from that cigarette taste and that really is a part of it.”

Luke Spalding is one of those former smokers. He said even if stores can’t sell the flavored product, he and other people who vape will still find a way to buy it.

“People can still get it online and they will. They’re just not going to go to the shop to do it,” said Spalding.

But health officials said there is so much uncertainty that surrounds vaping. They said it hasn’t been around long enough to understand its full effects.

“We have kids who are starting to vape thinking it’s a healthier alternative to smoking and we have nothing to prove that it is. In fact, what we’re seeing is that it is dangerous and it is unhealthy. So we want to encourage everyone to not start vaping. If you are doing it, quit,” said Adams County Director of Public Health Ellen Vonderheide.

The FDA regulates e-cigarettes and has power to ban vaping flavors but they have yet to take that step.

Even with more and more calls to do so, there’s no word on when that could happen.

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Brett Knese

Brett Knese

Multi-Media Journalist at WGEM News.

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