CLEVELAND — The clock is ticking for store owners who sell vapes and e-cigarette products.
In January, the FDA announced all vape distributors would have thirty days to remove most flavored liquid cartridges from their shelves.
However, some fear taking those products off the market may do more harm than good.
Store owners believe users will resort to dangerous, unregulated sources to get their nicotine fix.
The regulation handed down by the Food and Drug Administration has some vape users in a mad dash for fruity flavors.
“He was kind of pale, bewildered,” Chuck Whitinger said. “He was really agitated that we didn’t have it.”
The regulation goes into effect Thursday and is an attempt to steer teens and young adults away from nicotine products.
“And these flavorings are made specifically to target young people because the industry knows if you don’t get them hooked early, you’re probably not going to get them hooked at all,” Ken Fletcher said.
Whitinger believes the new mandate will force users who are already addicted to nicotine to find black market vendors to buy vape cartridges from.
“Now that it’s been taken away and there’s such a demand,” Whitinger said. “Someone is going to fill that demand, that’s just the way our society has become.”
Fletcher works for the Ohio branch of the American Lung Association and said the ban isn’t restrictive enough.
“Originally the president said that he wanted to clear the markets of these flavorings and what they actually issued leaves a lot of these products still on the market,” Fletcher said.
Per FDA guidelines, vape distributors will still be allowed to sell tobacco and menthol flavored vape products.