BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Small business owners call the new federal e-cigarette regulations the beginning of “doomsday” for vapor stores. Starting Monday August 8th, the sale of e-cigarettes to minors will be banned as part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s plan to regulate all tobacco products.
New York State is ahead of the curve, already making it illegal to sell e-cigs to minors. Store owners in the Buffalo area said that’s just one part of the new regulations.
Andrew Osborne, the owner of Vapor Trail Electronics spoke to News 4 with several other local vapor store owners Monday night. Osborne said the 499 pages of new federal regulations will cost small businesses millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars. He predicts in two years the industry will collapse and big tobacco will take over, since he said they have the money to pay for the regulations. Osborne said he is for sensible scientific regulations and research to make his product better but against rules that prevent him from helping customers quit smoking regular cigarettes.
The FDA still warns e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is addictive. The FDA is also concerned teens will get hooked on the fun flavors. Medical associations, concerned e-cigs serve as a gateway drug to draw teenagers into a lifetime of smoking addiction, praised the FDA.
Osborne said he has always been against selling his product to minors and simply wants to help people hooked on tobacco wean themselves off of it. Starting Monday he said owners can no longer help customers with common tasks like replacing parts and they can’t tell customers anything about the product.
“They say vaping is smoking and if you ask me I can’t tell you anything different, they say vaping is smoking but if you ask any of our customers they will tell you the complete opposite,” said Osborne reacting to the new FDA regulations.
The rules also cover other alternative forms of tobacco like cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco.
Osborne said he and other owners reached out to Congressman Chris Collins to look into the economic impact of the regulations. Owners are also talking to lawyers, afraid they will be put out of business in the next couple of years. The FDA said they will give small business more time to comply with the new rules but owners say time doesn’t matter, money does and a couple of years won’t make a difference.