Will New FDA Regulations Destroy Vaping? A Lubbock Vape Shop Owner Explains [INTERVIEW]
Pharr is not only a vape shop owner, but also the co-president of Texas' SFATA (Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association), "the largest and leading trade association in the vapor industry."
Pharr and I discussed what changes vape shops must make under the new FDA rules, how customers will be affected and whether or not the new regulations are essentially a ban.
"We're going to continue to make new e-liquids, but there are going to be some things that are going to have to change," Pharr said.
One of those changes will be that customers will no longer be able to customize eJuice flavors like they did in the past. With 200 flavors, customers shouldn't have too big of a problem finding a flavor that suits them. However, producing a SKU (simply put, a barcode) has been an ordeal for Pharr.
"Every e-liquid that we manufacture has 48 different variations, so we had to put in 48 different SKUs per flavor," he explained. That maths out to 9,600 different SKUs, a fairly burdensome chore for vape shop owners like Pharr.
Pharr also pointed out that the new rules impact how vape shops can engage and interact with their customers.
"Basically, a lot of the things we used to do to be able to teach customers and help customers, we're not going to be able to do since they [the FDA] took that away from us," he said.
As the way it stands right now, every [vape] shop will close in the next two years. - Travis Pharr, Owner, 180 Vape[/pullquotes]These things not only include instructing customers on proper usage of their equipment and repairs of equipment, but also the ability to help the elderly and the disabled use and fill their equipment. This struck home for me, as I have a neurodegenerative disorder that causes a constant tremor in my left hand. If I did vape, filling a tiny tank with eJuice would range from frustrating to impossible depending on my hand that day.
Travis, like many vape shop owners and customers, feels that the new FDA regulations are so extreme that they will kill vaping altogether. "As the way it stands right now, every shop will close in the next two years," Pharr told me.
Pharr vows to do everything he can to stay open for his customers because he's seen vaping improve the health of many people. Many of his customers have admitted that without vaping they will return to cigarette smoking. And Pharr emphasized his desire to continue to contribute to the local economy.
180 Vape employs more than a dozen people. There's an estimated 14,000 dedicated vape shops, so that roughly means 168,000 people could lose their jobs if vape shops are forced to shutter.
Pharr urged all vapers and anyone who feels these regulations are unjust or unreasonable to contact their legislators to tell them they support H.R. 2058 and the Cole-Bishop Amendment. Our legislators are:
Senator Ted Cruz 202-224-5922
Senator John Cornyn 202-224-2934