COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Governor Henry McMaster says he has no plans as of now to take any action against vaping products. However, several lawmakers across the state are planning to file legislation to regulate the industry.
At least three South Carolina lawmakers have spoken publicly about the need to regulate vaping products, including a push for an emergency stop on vaping sales.
One lawmaker wants to ban flavored vaping products from South Carolina stores. Another, wants to raise the age to purchase and use the products to 21 years old. But Columbia Senator Darrell Jackson wants more immediate action.
“What I noticed is that some governors have been very proactive and have decided it’s probably best to put a moratorium on those products,” explained Senator Jackson.
The Midlands lawmaker sent a letter to Governor Henry McMaster asking for an emergency 4-month ban on vaping sales so the state can study the products further.
Jackson added, “I think there is so much we do not know about the health consequences of vaping and quite honestly I think the product got to the marketplace prematurely.”
But vape store owners like Kevin Moore say not so fast. Moore opened Planet Vapor in 2013 after switching from traditional cigarettes a move he credits for saving his life.
“I beat lung cancer and couldn’t smoke cigarettes and didn’t want to so I searched for alternatives. Because it doesn’t have the carcinogens and tar that can build up on your lungs.”
Like other vape users, Moore is not against regulations but fears the proposals target those who vape instead of targeting the root of the problem; black market products.
Moore continued,”Drug dealers are taking them and mixing them and they’re in the same packaging so people think it’s a name brand and it’s not. And they’re getting sick and we’re getting banned for it.”
The earliest bills can be filed is December, but Moore says his business is already feeling the pressure.
“The public is so scared about it and only hearing one side and so for us our business down is 40% already.”
Senator Jackson says he does not want to ban vaping products for adults; however, he does think the state needs to take a step back and really research the product.
Vape store owners and users say they will continue to voice their concerns at the State House.