If you're confused by the new FDA regulations on vaping products, you're not alone. Trying to make sense of the 499-page document which defines them is, quite frankly, exhausting.

Luckily, I was able to discuss the new regulations with a few local vape shops about what they mean to you, the consumer, and their strategies for remaining open and in compliance.

It seems that the new regulations mostly boil down to three major "rules":

1. Vaping products cannot be sold to minors. 

Every shop in town was already doing this, so this won't really change anything except that minors won't be able to come into the retail part of the store.

Justin Sullivan,Getty Images

2. Vaping shops must avoid certain services they used to provide, so that they do not have to register as a "Tobacco Manufacturing Facility" 

Green Gorilla Smoke and Vape Shop showed me the signs they will be displaying in their shop which explain the services they can no longer provide due to these new regulations.

Shops will no longer be able to assemble or fix your equipment for you or troubleshoot any problems you may be having with your equipment. They will not be able to discuss health benefits with you or compare their product to traditional tobacco. They will be unable to sample any juice for you. And soon shops that mix their own juices will have a major issue to deal with, which is the next major component of the new regulations.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

 

3. Every single vaping product will be required to undergo an application process (known as PTMA) to be approved by the FDA and therefore available for sale.

There is a two-year grace period and the product can stay on the shelf indefinitely while the FDA reviews it.

This is probably the number one reason local shops are closing or will close, as making your own in-house juices will require a new application for each and every flavor and nicotine strength.

Hub City Vapors found the new rule too burdensome and is liquidating their stock until they close permanently on August 8. Each application can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

A representative from Electric Cloud Vapors did the math for me: "They're predicted to cost anywhere for $1-3 million dollars per SKU [the number that identifies each individual product]. And each nicotine level is a different SKU, so for one juice FLAVOR that is manufactured in 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg & 18mg, the cost would be around $5-15 million. Now imagine if that line has five flavors and that cost jumps to $25-75 million"

Electric Cloud Vapors, Green Gorilla and TXVapeBarn are all staying open despite this rule because they have always bought their juices from other manufacturers.

A representative from 180 Vape also called to tell me that they are remaining open and will continue to sell their 200 e-juice flavors. I will be following up with them soon on how they plan to navigate these new regulations.

However, there is concern that these manufacturers will not be able to shoulder the cost either, which could kill the entire vaping industry.

According to Electric Cloud: "That's effectively a 'ban' because no one except maybe big tobacco can afford the costs involved with filing PMTAs."

This is why they're urging their customers to "to register to vote and vote for the candidates that support vaping and also to call/write/meet with their senators and congressmen and ask for their support on HR 2058 and the Cole/Bishop Amendment."

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