Amarillo, TX - A local vape shop owner is fighting to keep 7,000 vape shops like his from closing across the country.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to regulate electronic cigarettes just like tobacco products. According to Lucky Ruckus Vape Shop owner Frank Blankenship, doing so would kill the entire e-cig industry.
He said the industry's biggest threat is proposed regulation from the FDA that would require all vape products not on the market before February 15, 2007 to be registered. The application to register would cost at least $300,000 dollars for just one product. Lucky Ruckus sells 2,000.
"If the FDA regulation passes just like it's written, then every single one of us is going to go out of business," said Blankenship. "Every single one of us. We can't afford to meet the requirements for the pre-market tobacco application."
Blankenship recently took his concerns to Washington D.C. to meet with White House officials currently reviewing the regulations. "We went to share economic data from our shop, Texas shops and U.S. shops as a whole to show them the impact that would occur to this industry if the deeming regulations pass as written."
He asked them to consider only requiring product registration for those that hit the market after the regulations go into effect. "That would at least allow us to stay in business. Now that's not an ideal situation because what that does is stifle innovation."
Blankenship said he is in favor of some of the regulation, like not selling to minors under 18. "Reasonable regulation is great. Child-resistant caps, proper labeling, good manufacturing processes, etc. Reasonable regulations are great. Over regulation is never good for anyone."
The White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to have a final decision on the proposed e-cig regulation by early next year.