Vape shop owner worries potential ban on e-cigarette flavors will force store closures

Vape shop owner worries potential ban will force store closures

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Local vape stores say if the Trump administration moves forward with banning flavored e-cigarette products, they will be forced to close their doors.

Chad Abu Hamad, the owner of Vape-On in Kenner, says every product he has on his shelves have some type of flavoring. So, when President Donald Trump announced plans to ban flavors used in e-cigarettes, he panicked.

“I can’t sell anything. Basically, if they ban the flavors, these devices are useless or anything else is useless,” said Abu Hamad.

Effectively, he says, he would have to close all three shops.

“It’s going to affect me a lot. It’s gonna affect the other employees that works with me because we’re gonna shut down all three locations.”

The Trump administration plans to develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco after deaths were linked to it.

“People are dying with vaping. So, we’re looking at it very closely,” said President Trump.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of cases of lung injuries linked to black market vaping liquids nearly doubled from last month.

"The real concerning thing in this is investigators don't know yet what's causing it," said Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health.

In Louisiana, there are 11 cases of people showing signs of respiratory issues related to e-cigarette products.

"We've had a lot of customers come in concerned about their health and safety,” said Joe Gerrity, the co-owner of Crescent City Vape. “All we can do reassure them that the product we sell here are FDA approved and their legal for sale in Louisiana and we have been selling them for a long time without issue."

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, e-cigarette usage in youth jumped from 11.8 percent to 20.8 percent last year.

"We work really hard to make sure no kids can walk into the store," said Abu Hamad.

He says he doesn’t even sell to people who come in with children.

Vaping companies like Juul have been criticized for hooking children on the products with their sweet or fruity flavors. The company maintains its products are intended for adult smokers.

Copyright 2019 WVUE. All rights reserved.