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Posted On March 30, 2017 By In Headline News, Legislation With 777 Views

Vape Shops Look To Congress For A Lifeline

There’s a big push to get the president and congress to pass a bill that could mean life or death for the entire vaping industry.

By Mark Tenia | March 23rd, 2017

Some say it could be the difference between saving or eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country including right here in the Richmond area.

“There are thousands of small businesses across the country that employ hundreds of thousands of people and these regulations are designed to kill those jobs,” said Jay Taylor, owner of Voltage Vapin in Chesterfield.

Taylor says he started the business to save lives by giving tobacco smokers an alternative to cigarettes, but Taylor and businesses like his across the country say they could all soon be out of business if policies adopted by the FDA last year go into effect. The agency is giving vaping shops two years to comply with the new policy requiring shops get pre-approval for all their products which Taylor says mom and pop shops couldn’t possibly afford.

“Every flavor, every nicotine level, every bottle size has to have its own research and studies done,” Taylor said.

Taylor, who is also the head of the Virginia Smoke-Free Association, says the rule could easily wipe out 99 percent of the vape shops across the country. He and other groups are hoping congress and the president pass a bill that would essentially grandfather in shops existing before the FDA policy went into effect last year. Taylor says they have no problems with regulations and safety but call the current policy almost impossible to meet.

“If they want to be selling the product to consumers they should be willing to step up and meet the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration,” said Regina Whitsett with Chesterfield Substance Abuse Free Environment or SAFE.

Whitsett says they support the FDA policy and says the products can also have negative effects on a person’s health.

“Research is coming out now that these products, the flavors that they are putting into the e-cigarettes and the e-cigarettes themselves are not as safe as what was first thought when they came out,” said Whitsett.

Still, Taylor believes it’s much safer than cigarettes, and if the policy isn’t changed, millions will be without an alternative.

“The smoking rates are now at the lowest they’ve ever been in history, they’d go back up,” said Taylor.

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