With the recent deaths brought on by vaping-related lung injuries and the Trump administration talk of a ban of all non-tobacco flavored products, one Elyria e-cigarette shop worries the bad rep could severely harm its business.
Annette Eggers, who is the manager of her husband, Mark's shop Ecig Emporium, 405 Cleveland St. in Elyria, said the recent deaths have overshadowed the good that vaping can do for those seeking a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes.
"I wanted to clear up that us vape stores, us shop owners stand behind keeping kids from smoking," Eggers said. "We do not contribute to smoking, but we do contribute to a healthier lifestyle for people that want to get away from smoking."
She said to only look at vaping deaths and imply a ban is "not looking at the whole picture."
Mark Eggers said his business already has felt the effects of ban talks, with the federal Food and Drug Administration having visited their location five times in the past 90 days with two of those visits in the last 14 days.
"It's intense, it really is intense," he said. "Our customers are concerned. We've already seen a significant drop in revenue."
Annette Eggers said their business was the first brick and mortar vaping shop to open in Northeast Ohio eight years ago and works with each customer to find the best e-cig fit.
Both Eggerses previously were smokers and Annette Eggers said she could attest to the positive affects that vaping contributes to those looking to quit.
"I can say it's helped my lifestyle," she said. "I know what it does and I support the vaping community."
Annette Eggers said a ban of non tobacco flavors indefinitely could harm their business, as a very large majority of vapers seek flavored juices.
"It's going to shut our doors," she said.
As for under-aged vaping, Annette Eggers said those ages 18 and younger are not permitted into the shop, let alone able to purchase any goods. The shop does not sell JUUL products.
Where the stats lie
Teen vaping rates have dramatically increased in only a few years, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Over 37 percent of teens now have vaped in the past year as of December 2018, compared to almost 28 percent in 2017.
However, adult rates are much lower, with almost four percent of adults ages 18 to 24 and a little more than four percent of adults ages 25 to 44 using e-cigs as of 2016, according to a 2016 National Health Interview Survey.