• July 9, 2020

Clock ticks for vape shops

The clock is ticking for the more than 130 small vape shops in Western New York that the federal government now wants to treat as though they were tobacco manufacturers, according to a story by Samantha Christmann for Buffalo News.

When sweeping new Food and Drug Administration rules go into effect next month, local shops will have two years to complete an expensive licensing application or close up shop for good.clock

The regulation process is so long, confusing and expensive that coming into compliance will be impossible for local independent retailers, shop owners say. As a result, most, if not all, of the small shops in Western New York are likely to close once the two-year ‘grandfathering’ period expires.

That could leave storefronts vacant, hundreds of people out of work and consumers with far fewer choices.

The new laws don’t treat the vape shops that sell the supplies as stores. Instead, because most of them mix their own e-juice, the FDA is requiring those vape shops to register as tobacco manufacturers.

Along with that, they’ll have to register every single e-juice flavor, e-cigarette component and e-cig accessory, providing the FDA with full documentation of each product’s ingredients and manufacturing process.

The cost to do all of that is out of reach for most retailers, critics say. The FDA estimates that the licensing process would cost from $285,000 to $2.6 million per product. Some analysts estimate that the cost could be closer to $10 million per product.

With hundreds of e-juice ingredients, there are billions of flavor combinations. Registering even a fraction of them would cost these mom-and-pop shops millions of dollars.

Even if a retailer could afford to register one or two e-juice flavors with the FDA, the return on investment wouldn’t be enough to even recoup the licensing costs. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to keep them in business.

That’s because a big part of the appeal of vape shops is the endless variations of e-juice flavors custom-made by each retailer. A shop with just one or two flavors – registered or not – would not likely be able to keep the doors open.

Christmann’s story is at: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/fdas-costly-new-rules-may-sink-local-vape-shops-20160703.