Massachusetts Vape Shops Struggling Despite Ending Of Prohibition
Local Mom-and-Pop Vape Shops Shuttering And Struggling To Stay Afloat After Two Month Prohibition On Sales
Times have been turbulent recently for the troubled vaping industry. As New York state health officials opted to renew a statewide but yet-to-be-enforced ban on flavored nicotine vapor products, officials across the border have decided to lift their ban on nicotine vapor products following new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Health and Government officials in Massachusetts have opted to lift a complete ban on nicotine vapor products following a two-month emergency ban enacted under an executive order by Governor Charlie Baker. The move comes following additional research from the CDC, indicating injuries associated with vaping are attributed to cannabis-based vapor products rather than nicotine-based ones.
The vaping industry and community continue to be critical of the Baker administration despite lifting the ban, as the emergency order effectively shuttered vape shops for a whole two months and decimated the local retail industry in the process. While complete prohibition was undoubtedly devastating for the industry, a flavor ban is not necessarily a sign of better times as sales of flavored vapor products can often make up as much as 80-95% of a retail vape shop’s overall sales.
While the ban was lifted earlier than officials had previously anticipated, it came following the enactment of some of the strictest regulations on vaping in the entire country. On top of an outrageous 75% excise tax on sales, officials also effectively banned all flavored vapor products by only allowing their sale in licensed smoking bars where they must be consumed on-site.
Good With Bad
As mentioned, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed some of the strictest vaping regulations into effect after enacting a 90-day complete ban on all vapor products under an emergency order. After effectively being forced to close for two months, and the enactment of outlandish regulations that will continue to hamper the remaining sales they are able to earn, many small independant mom-and-pop vape shops have already shuttered or are struggling to stay afloat in a hostile retail and regulatory environment.
Some retailers have managed to stay afloat by pivoting their core focus to smoking paraphernalia and accessories such as glass pipes and rolling papers, while others have managed to cash in on the CBD craze by offering various infused products as well. These outlets are allowed to carry vapor products again, but they are only allowed to sell tobacco and unflavored vape juice for offsite consumption.
The ban has forced vapers looking for flavored options to find outlets in neighboring states or to research online outlets still willing to sell to the state illegally. This will continue to hamper these vape shop’s ability to operate as people continue to access new means of acquiring the product or even get into blending their own vape juice.
These small business owners have begged common sense questions to regulators such as why flavored alcohols and spirits can be sold and heavily marketing despite having a proven track record of appealing to minors, teen usage, and a myriad of potential risks. Vaping has a long proven track record in aiding smoking cessation for millions of former adult smokers, being a proven reduced-harm alternative to tobacco, and has been demonstrated to have no risk of harm from long-term usage.
Facts On Vaping
Anti-vaping activists often propagate the myth of a so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” despite not having solid evidence to support this claim. In fact, according to the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey, over half of teens who had tried vaping cited being curious about them as their reason for attempting, with less than a quarter stating it was because of the flavor options available.
Flavor bans such as the strictest one enacted in Massachusetts only prevent adult smokers from access to a proven and effective smoking cessation device as opposed to protecting minors. In fact, research from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than prescription options such as Chantix.
Not only is vaping remarkably effective in aiding adult smokers in smoking cessation, but it has also routinely been demonstrated to be less harmful than tobacco as well. According to a landmark study conducted by Public Health England, researchers found vaping to be 95% safer than smoking, a figure the country’s top public health agency routinely defends and stands behind.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of any long-term risk to users of vapor products. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences not only found that is vaping is less harmful than smoking, but there were no long-term health effects associated with long-term usage.
Reactionary regulations passed by lazy lawmakers such as flavor bans only serve to harm adult smokers as opposed to protecting teens. These bans prevent those who managed to quit smoking from accessing what allowed them to do so. Not to mention removing the option for those who may not have tried yet.
In addition, these forms of reactionary regulation harm our local economies by forcing tax-paying small businesses made up of our friends and neighbors to close. Vape shops often have larger impacts in their community by helping to improve public health, as well as shops often opening in declining shopping centers, helping to increase foot traffic and stimulate local economic activity beyond themselves.
Members of the vaping industry and community must continue to lobby lawmakers to enact common-sense legislation to prevent teen usage, such as raising the minimum age of purchase to 21 statewide. This solution would help prevent youth access while also allowing adult smokers to continue vaping without forcing them to continue associating nicotine with tobacco, resorting to the black market, traveling across state lines, or going to unscrupulous online retailers to do so.
How do you feel about the flavor ban in Massachusetts? Do you believe the local vaping industry will be able to adapt and come back in the state effectively? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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