Monday, October 7th, 2019
Vape store owners oppose ban
By Tom Stankard
Epic Vapes Celina store manager Robert Wilson says e-cigarettes are healthier th. . .
Area e-cigarette store owners oppose Gov. Mike DeWine's call to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products as concerns grow about the health effects of vaping.
DeWine earlier this week said banning e-flavored cigarettes is necessary to protect children from becoming addicted.
His call to action comes as the Ohio Department of Health has identified at least 22 cases of severe breathing illnesses likely caused by vaping and is investigating 19 more. More than 800 cases of similar lung illnesses have been reported across the country, including several deaths.
Grand Lake Vapor owner Donald Warden and Epic Vapes Celina manager Robert Wilson stressed their products are FDA certified and safe to use.
"People have a misconception when they're saying vaping kills," Wilson added.
They insist black-market products are the culprits. Wilson claimed these contain vitamin E, which is not meant to be burned by vaping and can cause lung damage.
News coverage of e-cigarettes has caused sales of the products to decline, Wilson noted.
If they are banned, Warden said it likely would shut down his business, adding he hopes at least a grace period would allow him time to sell his inventory.
It will have a bigger impact on people who use flavored e-cigarettes, Wilson said.
"They rely on those flavors to stay away from cigarettes. If they ban flavors, there's going to a lot of people going back to tobacco," he said.
Compared with actual cigarettes, Warden said, "vaping is so much safer than smoking."
Wilson agreed, saying "My lungs are clearer now than when I was smoking."
"When you smoke a cigarette, you're taking in that heat, smoke and poison on top of the nicotine," Wilson explained. "The only thing that should be taken in when vaping is the nicotine.
E-cigarettes helped Warden quit after smoking two packs per day, he recalled, making him an advocate for vaping.
Despite some products' being labeled nicotine free, Amy Miller of Foundations Behavioral Health has said they could still contain trace amounts of nicotine that can lead to addiction among children.
Referencing a survey among hundreds of Mercer County children, Miller has noted 5.9% of eighth-graders, 15.7% of 10th-graders and 17.9% of 12th-graders reported they had used e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days this year
Later this month, a law will take effect increasing the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 years old. Wilson is aware that some high-schoolers vape and said he has no problem with if it the teenager's parents buy the product for their child.
The average age of customers buying flavored e-cigarettes is 35-40, he pointed out.
"They are more the ones who like the fruity flavors because they don't want to get bored and like to have a variety of flavors to choose from," Wilson said.
Rather than banning e-cigarettes, Wilson said DeWine should focus on the ongoing heroin problem in Ohio.
"That's where the problem is. It has nothing to do with businesses helping people," he added.