The recently implemented statewide ban on the sale of flavored vaping products isn’t flawless, say vape shop owners who are upset about the fact that tribal smoke shops are not subject to the ban.
While Governor Jay Inslee is currently engaged in conversation with tribes, buying vape products from them is still legal. Several vape shop owners emptied vaping bottles from their store shelves on Thursday.
Citing the upsurge in use of the liquid that goes into vape among teenagers, Inslee requested and even got the State Board of Health to ban the sale of the flavored variant. Vape shop owners were left with no choice but to close down since without selling flavored vapes, which made up 95 percent of their business, surviving is near impossible.
There are five flavors that they are still allowed to sell. Vape shop owner Jacob Johnson says, “We have a huge customer base and a lot of them have expressed, this is a small percentage of them that said they would use tobacco flavors. But we’ll kind of see this week if that is actually true.”
Johnson is concerned about a new tribal smoke shop that just opened would steal his business since tribes aren’t subject to the state ban, thanks to their sovereign nation status. “They can sell 18-20 (year olds) and they are right by the base. And so it’s concerning to me. I feel like they should have to go by state laws,” Johnson added.
Customer Morgan Roland says, “I think they’ll definitely get a lot more business. A lot more business, especially when people know about it.”
Rolan piled up the flavored vapes realizing the ban could be short-term. Online sellers of flavored vaping products tell Johnson that they too do not adhere to the ban.
“I’m going to continue to send e-liquid and flavored e-liquid into Washington state.’ And how’s that going to affect me as a retail store? I mean it’s going to put me out of business,” Johnson said.
Still, in business, Johnson is trying to figure out what he can do with the inventory worth $50,000 as he no longer has the permission to sell them. Tribes have remained mum when Komonews tried getting their comments on the situation.
The entire United States could soon be facing the same issue as President Trump considers placing a nationwide ban on the sale of flavored vapes. The Trump administration hasn’t announced a date on when that might happen.