President Donald Trump's move to ban all flavored electronic cigarettes products other than tobacco flavors won’t just hit small businesses such as vape shops, a shop manager said it will push people who want flavors from the illicit market.
Trump announced the ban on Wednesday.
“It’s again very new and, potentially, very bad,” Trump said. “There have been deaths and there have been a lot of other problems. People think it’s been an easy solution to cigarettes, but it’s turned out it has its own difficulties.”
Jon Sharp, operations manager with Upper Limits vape shop in Springfield, said they’ll likely survive the hit.
“But there’s going to be a lot of businesses that aren’t positioned like us that won’t be able to survive,” Sharp said. “If you have a shop that 96 percent of your revenue comes from flavored, you’re done. I mean all those people out of jobs, all those business loans. Scary times.”
Sharp said the ban will also push people to the black market.
“You’re going to not remove the demand for our product but you’re going to push it to producers, who knows who they are, what they’re making, what they're putting it into. You’re going to see more people getting hurt because people will buy what they want to buy,” he said.
The FDA has yet to roll out the rules, but Sharp said the announcement alone would likely push Illinois’ efforts to ban flavored products over the finish line as early as this fall.
“So, I feel like they’re going to be more emboldened to come after us,” Sharp said. “The Illinois one is the one that’s most concerning to me right now. That will be the one to come into effect faster.”
Sharp said the flavor ban will likely push some people back to combustible tobacco products, which he said are more harmful than e-cigarettes.