Local vape shops seeing decline after possible ban announced on flavors


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Vape shops, like Sundance Southern Vapors in Harlem and many across the country, sell a lot of flavored e-cigarettes. But most of those customers are adults. In fact, all of them are. Yet, local vape shop owners say they are already losing business because of a possible ban on their most popular product.

“That’s my entire business. I’m closed,” Deidra Casey, Sundance Southern Vapors owner told us. “I can see me trying to sell, ‘oh yeah you want a tobacco or another tobacco.’ Come on. No one wants it.”

Casey said just one percent of her tobacco flavored e-cigarettes sell. That’s because almost everyone likes vaping with a fruity flavor. It’s so popular, she opened her second vape shop in Harlem recently. So, talks of a ban on her most popular goods is a problem.

She added, “My employees won’t get a paycheck. My customers won’t have anywhere to go. I’m closed.”

The Trump administration announced last week it is considering banning flavored e-cigarettes after several mysterious lung illnesses. And now, there are reports of the seventh vaping related death. The CDC launched an investigation into the issue leaders saif is most popular among teens, a group not even eligible to buy.

Vape Frog owner Robin Seaborn spoke with NewsChannel 6 about the dangers of the ban. “We’re going to have a lot of problems with the bootlegs and the black market. That’s going to take over.”

Seaborn said shops like hers are not the problem, but it’s the black market putting other dangerous products, such as cocaine, inside the equipment and getting them into kids’ hands. Nevertheless, she’s losing business.

She said, “This time last year, I was doing about $15,000 more.”

As both Seaborn and Casey brace themselves for a final decision on the ban, NewsChannel 6 spoke with an economics professor at Augusta University about how the ban could even impact trade.

“The majority of the vaping products in the United States are imported from China,” said Qihua Qiu, Assistant Professor of Economics at AU . “In the United States, many companies make their own oil, but they ship their oil to China and let them assemble and then they ship back to the United States.”

Casey added she’s so confident that flavored e-cigs has noting to do with the illnesses the federal ban is talking about that she’s inviting a doctor into her store to check out her customers’ health.

Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins

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