PUEBLO, Colo. — Big changes are going into effect for the electronic cigarette industry.
As of Monday, August 8, the FDA is requiring all e-cigarette and vape products to be regulated the same way as tobacco.
This includes no sales to those under 18 years of age, which is already the law in 48 states. The FDA now has to approve any new product.
Free samples of liquid can no longer be given out and vape shop employees cannot modify or help customers set up their device.
Many folks take up vaping to help quit tobacco use.
“We’ve never thought that we were selling tobacco products,” said Francesca Gettler, Director of Operations at Vapor Source. “We’ve never felt that way.”
But the FDA is now considering vaporizers, e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems to be tobacco products.
Kevin Price, Compliance and Lab Director at Vapor Source said, “We are now a tobacco product. The batteries we sell for our hardware devices are considered a tobacco product. Even the e-liquid that has zero nicotine is considered derived from tobacco.”
Gettler has worked at Vapor Source in Pueblo for the past 5 years. Before that, she was a customer.
“We have literally come from a mom-and-pop shop to 5 stores, another one in the making and 30 employees and it’s our livelihood,” said Gettler.
Many vape shops mix their own liquids. The biggest change is they’re now required to submit a Pre-market Tobacco Application for each product with a different flavor or nicotine strength.
The FDA’s website says one of those applications can cost anywhere from more than $100,000 to well over $400,000.
While big tobacco companies can afford forking over that kind of money, most e-cigarette businesses are small, local shops.
“There are machinists that make the mouthpieces for the hardware, battery manufacturers who have ballooned in this time with battery sales that are all used in these devices.” Price said, “You’re going to see everything that touches this industry get a negative financial impact.”
“Every day we strive to give the best customer service in southern Colorado to be able to be the best so that we can feed our families, so that we can provide,” said Gettler.
The folks at Vapor Source say the industry is banding together to fight these new regulations.
To join the fight head to www.ColoradoSFA.org.>>Click here to see the FDA regulations on tobacco products in entirety.