Vape shops all across America are facing extinction, just like the dinosaurs did so many years ago, and just like other wildlife are facing now. Well, not exactly like that. We can’t compare Cecil the lion to vape shop owners, but we’re sure you get the point. The picture doesn’t look pretty because of the impending rules that are set to come down at some point from the Federal Drug Administration. The FDA electronic cigarettes regulations should be looking at the big picture and making us safer, but in doing so they could be placing a death sentence on the stores that specialize in ecig juice.
As with any major change to an ecosystem (we can call ours the vaporsystem, why not?), the effects are far-reaching. For those of you who have stuck to cig-a-like type electronic cigarettes and aren’t into refilling your own ecig juice, you may brush this off. You may say that as long as you are able to purchase your prefilled cartridges from your favorite brands and keep vaping away, while staying away from traditional tobacco cigarettes, you’re good. But it isn’t that simple, because when one part of the industry goes away, it could affect everyone.
Vape shops have their pros and cons, but they do represent growth for the community. The pros of being able to walk into an establishment and try different flavors is huge for a lot of people. Most importantly, they serve as big advertisements for smokers as to the other options that are right there in front of them. The cons list is there too, as you can almost always get better prices online and often you’ll find higher-grade products from online shops as well. Still, these small shops have their place.
They also represent a huge initiative by people who simply believe in this technology. Often the owners of these vape shops are ex-smokers who are enthusiastic about the movement. FDA electronic cigarettes regulations scare them more because they feel it will limit their impact on the community than anything else. There is simply a moral imperative for them to get the word out, and we commend this type of thinking.
Some of these vape shops are getting their ecig juice from reliable sources, so that stigma doesn’t encapsulate the entire industry. There are owners who are just in it for the money, as can always be found in any type of business, but that isn’t everyone. Many have spent thousands of dollars creating labs and mixing facilities that are top-notch, and they churn out quality products that provide vape shops with the peace of mind as to what their consumers are ingesting.
Vape Shops Represent The American Dream
This is also an industry that harkens back to the old days, when the American dream was alive and well. When building a business from nothing because you have a good product with good service was enough to succeed. In such a young industry, you see this frequently. “We are talking a large number of small and medium businesses,” Gregory Conley describes. “It might be cliche, but it’s their American dream.” Conley of course is the president of the American Vaping Association, an advocacy group for vaping that is trying to fend off this possible extinction of vape shops.
Conley was quoted there in the local York Dispatch online edition, where he emphasized that he believes proposed FDA electronic cigarettes regulations would eliminate 99% of vape shops and smokers would pay the price. This would be a wholesale culling of the thousands upon thousands of privately owned shops that have cropped up across America. They really are the epitome of the small business dream too, taking a new product and bringing it to the masses. So why would the FDA kill such an economic growth engine that is small business?
The rhetoric is that it is for our safety. To make sure that the ecig juice we vape is held up to certain standards and that it isn’t being sold to minors, among other things. The reality is quite different if you ask those watching the industry closely. “We wish this process only involved testing ingredients,” says Gregory Conley. “The requirement that products retroactively undergo premarket review is a multi-million dollar process that involves not just toxicology but also behavioral psychology and physiology.” This, as you can imagine, takes things to an entirely different stratosphere of expectations, and thus resulting actions.
All of this leads up to the impending doom for vape shops. Not that it is certain, but at least potentially and in a very strong way. We don’t yet know how the FDA will come down specifically with their ruling. Furthermore, we don’t know how they will enforce it and what kind of tools will potentially need to be built to do that. What we do know is that if every company that produces ecig juice is forced to go under such stringent procedures, it could very well mean the end of vape shops.
Ecig Juice Part of Vaping Revolution
In a world without vape shops, there won’t be the same amount of influence by those that really love vaping. The cig-a-like type systems that are still the mainstream (although that is changing quickly), will cement themselves as the only option. People already go into gas stations and liquor stores and purchase inferior products, and without vape shops they will do more of that.
Some that are truly interested in vaping will go online and find great quality brands and plenty of options, but others won’t. They’ll pick up something that isn’t that great, take that as an example of what electronic cigarettes are, and often stop vaping. That’s when they go back to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
Whether the extinction of vape shops is months away, a year away, or many years away, we as an industry need to be ready. Now is the time to get the word out as much as possible and present a picture to the public of what vaping really is, not what it is demonized to be. This will prove vital as less hands-on service is available to those looking to make the switch. Online brands will also need to step up their game and fill that gap, although many already do. They’ll need to push out further with their advertising and let people know what is out there.
The electronic cigarette industry has survived a lot in its short lifespan, but the changes yet to come will be some of the most challenging. We’re in for a lot more before this wild wild west of an industry truly becomes standardized. The fight is to make sure it is done in a proper way that benefits consumers in the end, not huge corporations who only care about profits. We’ll do our part to inform you of all that is to come and to push the ecig revolution forward as best we can. Stick around folks, the ride is only just beginning.