Vaping industry bracing for new restrictions on e-cigarettes

Walmart announced that it is going to stop selling electronic cigarettes once it exhausts sales of its current inventory.

The nation’s largest retailer took the action as federal, state and local governments consider new regulations following seven deaths and 530 cases of lung illness associated with vaping.

Tony Abboud, director of the Vapor Technology Association, a trade group with 1,000 members, spoke to WTOP about concerns regarding a federal ban of flavored e-cigarettes and local efforts to ban the sales of vaping products near schools.

When it comes to keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people, Abboud said, “banning flavors is not the answer.” The vape industry has insisted for years that the flavored cigarettes are not marketed to teens and young people, and Abboud repeated that argument: “If you do simply ban flavors, that will eliminate an entire industry that has grown up to compete with the traditional tobacco industry.”

Abboud added, “adults need a wide variety of flavors,” and said, “The solution cannot be that tobacco, menthol and mint are the only allowable flavors that the government will endorse. Because those are precisely the flavors that addicted adult smokers are desperately trying to get away from.”

Montgomery County’s council is considering laws and zoning restrictions that would bar the sale of vaping products within a half-mile of middle and high schools, and bar the distribution of any vaping product to all retail outlets in the same areas. Abboud suggested that amounts to telling those owners that they will be put out of business.

He also says there will an economic impact that will have a ripple effect. “It will eliminate $130 million in wages that the industry generates, as well as an almost $400 million economic impact on the state alone.”

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