Excessive Regulations Putting Vape Shops Out Of Business
New laws and taxes are forcing small mom-and-pop shops to close.
Last week, Michigan became the first state in the country to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Unfortunately for many small business owners who sell vapor products, unneeded regulations like this may be impacting them more than they thought and much sooner than anticipated.
Keeping up with these sudden, excessive, and ever-expanding regulations have proven to be a challenge for smaller mom-and-pop outlets. One such vape shop in Washington state has recently been forced to close in direct response to these growing burdens.
Anti-vaping activists have been lobbying lawmakers to enact bans and other legislation that restrict the sale and use of vapor products for several years now. While they claim these restrictions serve public health, critics note that more often than not, these new laws only place excessive burdens on small business owners — a move which is ultimately reducing safer options for smokers looking to quit.
While regulations are beneficial for ensuring strict industry standards are upheld and preventing access to minors, issues arise when these new rules become excessively burdensome. Between a constant stream of new restrictions and excessive taxation, many small businesses are shuttering, left with few other options.
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Back in May, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed House Bill (HB) 1873 into law after near-unanimous support as it passed from the House to the Senate to the Governor’s desk. The law initially proposed a taxation rate of 95% for vapor products, products that have been proven to be 95% safer than smoking.
After the law was first introduced in February, several industry leaders and small business owners descended on the state capitol to voice their concerns that these excessive taxes would place them out of business. Kim Thompson, a small vape shop owner and co-founder and president of the Anti-Smoking Alliance, noted that a tax rate that high would nearly double the cost of their products. This would force consumers across state lines, into tribal reservations, toward online sales, or even unsafe DIY methods, all of which would effectively destroy the local industry in the process.
While the bill has since been amended to lower the rate of taxation from 95% to 60%, even these taxes are proving to be too high from some mom and pop shops to keep up with. The Fix Vapor Cafe in Richland has recently been forced to close in direct response to the passage of HB 1873, which goes into effect on October 1st. The law not only taxes any new merchandise bought the day the law goes into effect, but also retroactively applies to any products currently in stock as well.
Small businesses are closing in response to these new laws because they’re unable to keep up with these excessive and burdensome regulations. Lawmakers are forcing entire local industries to go belly-up overnight, not only causing hard-working business owners to lose their livelihoods but also shrinking their regions effective tax base as well.
Facts About Vaping
The smoking epidemic is at an all-time high, with an estimated 1 billion smokers worldwide, 38 million of them in the United States alone. Restricting access to vaping through excessive taxation and regulation only puts this group further at risk by denying them safer alternatives to tobacco.
By legislating vapor products the same as tobacco, lawmakers are creating a negative stigma against a major potential public health tool. A survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health discovered only 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with 26% saying it’s just as bad if not worse.
There is a staggering amount of research highlighting the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid and reduced harm alternative to tobacco. One such study conducted by the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation tool available on the market today.
Another study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer when compared to smokers. This comes along separate studies from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Cancer Center, who found vaping to be 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Excessive regulations and taxation that target the vaping industry are putting small mom and pop shops out of business at an alarming rate. These small businesses are unable to navigate a hostile and ever-changing economic and legislative landscape.
If lawmakers and industry leaders aren’t able to draft more common-sense legislation regarding the regulation of vapor products, entire local industries may shutter overnight. Lawmakers are imposing astronomical and completely irrational taxes on vapor products for the sake of moral crusading and virtue signaling.
This not only takes away the livelihoods of hard-working Americans but also shrinks the effective tax base in these regions. Lawmakers are creating potential budget shortfalls and unemployment crisis’ in the name of political posturing.
It’s important for the public to remain adequately informed and civically engaged, especially when their government is shuttering local industries because they wanted to pass a measure that would look good in a campaign ad for the upcoming election season. Voters need to hold these lawmakers accountable for their legislative overreach.
How do you feel about excessive taxes and regulations surrounding vaping? Have these impacted you personally? Let us know in the comments below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you can receive all the latest vaping news!
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