The manager of a New Albany vape shop said his industry is being demonized.
Federal officials are cracking down on flavored e-cigarettes to “tackle the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.”
But Scooby Fox, manager of Vapor Wize in New Albany, said, “It's not like the flavored products are just going to disappear.”
Vapor Wize does not “stand for underage consumption of tobacco products or vaping,” Fox asserted. He said his business has signage that says people must be 18 years old to be in the store and that customers are asked for ID.
He agreed that “kids are vaping” but said children will always find a way to get something. The youth who are vaping are not getting it from a vape store, he said.
“I think it's mass hysteria,” said Fox. “I really don't think there's a youth epidemic.”
Federal officials strongly disagree with Fox.
Preliminary numbers from the National Youth Tobacco Survey “show a continued rise in the disturbing rates of youth e-cigarette use . . .,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
But Fox said the vape industry has helped many people quit smoking. In fact, Fox himself was a smoker but quit as a result of vaping, he said. He has not had any health problems from vaping and said he does not cough anymore, can run a mile and that his lungs are starting to feel “clean and clear.”
Tobacco companies are angry that people are vaping instead of smoking, said Fox. Vaping is 98 percent healthier than smoking a cigarette, Fox said, adding, “There are no reported illnesses that have been proven from vaping.”
However, federal officials are investigating “incidents of severe respiratory illness associated with use of vaping products.” People should consider not using e-cigarette products while the investigation is ongoing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fox said the vapor industry is “here to stay. We rose from the ashes to create an industry to help save lives. We're going to fight big tobacco. We're going to fight the lobbyists. We're going to fight he misinformation.”
Vapor Wize does not condone the use of unregulated vaping products, Fox added. Problems can occur when people try to make vaping products without going through any of the regulatory processes, he noted.
“That could be harmful to the public,” he said.
Fox said he wants people to come to Vapor Wize because the products are subject to FDA regulations and the ingredients are listed on the packaging.
In the 10 years vaping has been around, there has been no proof that anyone has died as a result of it, said Fox.
“We are here to help save your life,” Fox said.