The vape/ e-cigarette industry has been booming in recent years, not only around the nation but, around the world. As e-cigarettes continue to soar in popularity, more and more vape shops open in cities around the world.
The industry has been expanding rapidly, FDA regulations have begun to affect shop owners.
On Thursday April 24th the FDA proposed a couple new regulations concerning the e-cigarette industry. The proposal included banning sales to minors, requiring manufacturers to place health warnings on e-cigarette products warning consumers about the addictive nature of nicotine, manufacturers would also have to register their products and ingredients with the FDA in an effort to ensure the quality of products across the board, and finally manufacturers would have to provide scientific evidence before making any health claims, such as the ability of e-cigarettes to help users quit smoking. These restrictions must go through a public comment period and face any potential legal challenges before becoming official.
Here’s what you need to know about some new regulations and what they could mean for the future of your business.
LA Begins E-Cigarette Regulation
Back in April Los Angeles responded to the growing popularity of vape shops and e-cigarettes within the city by becoming the latest city to issue an ordinance banning the use of e-cigarettes in public places, such as beaches, parks, and restaurants. In fact some city officials have called for even tighter restrictions on e-cigarettes, specifically concerning TV commercials and flavors that appeal to minors. These regulations don’t appear to be coming anytime soon, but some shop owners have expressed concern.
Popular opinion among vape shop owners suggests that they believe the industry could benefit from some of these policies if they ensure minimum standards of quality. Specifically owners of liquid manufacturing companies say their business would improve by eliminating competitors that produce their products under unsanitary conditions or import products of debatable quality from abroad.
So far, inspite of the initial regulations Los Angeles vape shop owners are experiencing the latter scenario unfolding with no noticeable drop in business.
Protect Your Business: No Sale to Minors
Oregon recently passed a bill to become the 27th state to formally ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Furthermore they are also considering a bill that would ban the indoor use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces, such as they have with conventional tobacco use.
The bill banning the sale to minors was passed according to lawmakers in an effort to prevent minors, particularly teenagers from becoming just as addicted to nicotine as they would be with the use of conventional cigarettes. Oregon is attempting to prevent the creation of a culture where using e-cigarettes is as acceptable as smoking was in the past. Most Oregon vape shop owners have expressed their support of the ban on sales to minors and many even said at the hearing that they already don’t sale e-cigarettes or related products to anyone under the age of 18.
In fact with today’s technology it’s become even easier for vape shop owners to verify the age of potential customers. A 2D barcode scanner can scan the barcode on the back of an ID or driver’s license to verify a customer’s age and is easily integrated in your existing POS system.
UK Ushers in Vaping for Medicinal Use
In an effort to prevent the undermining of years of anti-smoking efforts the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK says it will begin to license e-cigarettes as a medicine when new European tobacco laws go into force in 2016. A representative for the MHRA has said,
“We can’t recommend these products because their safety and quality is not assured, and so we will recommend that people don’t use them.” Once e-cigarettes become licensed they will remain on sale over-the-counter in the UK. The real question this raises is if other countries, like the US, will follow the UK’s lead and begin to classify e-cigarettes as a medicine.
Make Sure Your Vape Shop Stays Compliant
With all of the ever changing regulations in the industry it can be difficult for shop owners to stay up to date with the newest regulations. The easiest way for you to ensure that your vape shop is remaining compliant with the latest local regulations would be to visit your local states health services website, California’s can be found here. Also, be sure to stay up to date with the latest federal regulations by visiting the FDA website.