HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – The Trump administration has floated a proposal that would ban flavored vapes, in an effort to make them less enticing to children. But kids aren’t the only ones who like flavored vapes, and the owner of a chain of local smoke shops says an outright ban on flavored vapes would go too far.
“We have fruity flavors, we have candy style flavors, we have dessert flavors,” said Bob Chianelli, owner of Papa Joe’s, a chain of five smoke shops in Hampton Roads and in Harrisonburg. He says vaping is not kids stuff, but the proposed ban on flavored vapes would affect adults trying to quit cigarettes.
“Just to outright ban it would be wrong. We have thousands of customers, and so do many other vape shops, who are former smokers of legal age that rely on their flavored juices,” Chianelli told 10 On Your Side.
Chianelli says vaping is a personal choice and adults should be able to make that choice. If you’re under 21, you don’t have the choice of buying vapes of any kind at Papa Joe’s.
“I think children shouldn’t be doing it. We’re an age-restricted store, so we don’t sell to minors.”
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, released a statement which read in part:
“We are deeply disappointed in the President’s decision… to ban the sale of nearly every vaping product on the market. A ban will remove life-changing options from the market that have been used by several million American adults to quit smoking.”
“In the history of the United States, prohibition has never worked. It didn’t work with alcohol. It hasn’t worked with marijuana. It won’t work with e-cigarettes.”
Schools are trying to crack down on vaping in bathrooms and locker rooms.
The CDC reports nearly 400 cases of lung illness connected to vaping, with cases in Virginia, North Carolina and 34 other states.
Vaping in general is not regulated, but Chianelli says that should change.
“I think it should be regulated. I think it’s a good alternative to smoking cigarettes.”
Otherwise, Chianelli says an underground flavored vape market will emerge, and people will have no idea what they are getting or what they are inhaling into their bodies.
The CDC says it does not yet know the specific cause of the lung disease outbreak – and has not identified any single product or device that is linked to all cases.
Right now it appears that if the administration’s plan would go forward on its current timeline, flavored vapes could be banned before the end of this year.
American Vaping Association on proposed ban of flavored vapes: https://vaping.org/press-release/ava-statement-on-president-trumps-support-for-a-fda-flavor-ban/
CDC information on vaping illness outbreak: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html#key-facts