Fate of local smoke shops now in question after FDA new vapor regulations

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Pitching e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking just got a lot harder.

Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced they would be cracking down on those who can buy the devices.

“We cannot let the enormous progress that we have made toward a tobacco free generation be under minded by products that have impact our health and economy in this way,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services, Syliva Burwell.

Long feared by the e-cigarette industry, the FDA’s new rules will require that all vaping products to be federally approved before they can be sold.

The new regulations can threaten the success of many vaping shops. Juicy’s Vapor Lounge in Topeka has been preparing for these regulations.

“We wanted to be able to adjust accordingly without spending a lot of man power and money to do it,” said Matthew Eller, employee at Juicy’s Vapor Lounge.

But these regulations could have far reaching consequences.

“I’m not going to lie and say that we are not worried because we are,” Eller said.

This could cost an estimated $1-millions or more for each e-cigarette and its products to seek FDA approval.

From the juice, to the tank, and the battery that powers it.

“It is going to make it impossible for anybody who is not a big company,” said Megan Russell, employee at All American Vapor. “If you don’t have millions in your back pocket you’re not going to make it.”

Just like Juicy’s, All American Vapor has their e-liquid manufactured in a lab.

“But even with that, that would mean our company would have to pay for it to be FDA approved. It’s going to cut into business here,” Russell said.

“This stuff is literally liquids that we’ve been using in food ingredients and fog machines for 30 years. Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin,” says Eller.

But doctors say it’s something that needs to be done.

“At the root of it, it is still nicotine which is an addictive drug,” said Dr. Stephen Thornton, Toxicologist with the University of Kansas Hospital. “And that’s what makes people what to use e-cigarettes.”

The new regulations say that people under the age of 18 won’t be able to by e-cigarette products. That won’t affect businesses here in Kansas since no one under 18 is allowed to buy e-cigarettes.

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