AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The FDA has passed federal regulations requiring all e-cigarette and vape products to be regulated the same way as tobacco.
This includes no sales to those under 18 years of age, free samples of e-liquid can no longer be given and vape shop employees cannot modify customer devices.
The FDA will also now have to approve any new products before they hit the shelf for sale, and vape shops are worried this regulation could close stores.
"What that means is, unless something changes with those regulations that are in affect now, on Aug. 8, 2018 this shop and 14,000 other shops across the U.S. will be closed because of the regulatory process that they have set up," said Frank Blankenship, Lucky Ruckus Vape Shop Co-owner. "Which is heavily burdensome, expensive and complicated."
The regulatory process will require shops and manufacturers to submit a Pre-market Tobacco Application for each product.
The FDA website says one application can cost anywhere from $100,000 to over $400,000.
Local shop owners say this is especially pricey since they carry hundreds of different products.
"Nobody is advocating for zero regulation," said Blankenship. "What we want is reasonable regulation and those regulations should be regulations that don't prevent adults from accessing vaping products."
This requirement will affect the sale of all e-cigarette and vape products including hookahs.
It will require each business to begin submitting population studies and laboratory analysts for each product that was not on the market before 2007.
For most stores, this is a challenge since products from 2007 have become obsolete.
"There's a two year grace period, things that were on the market have two years before they have to go under a Pre-market Tobacco Application process," said Blankenship. "Each product in a store has to go through this process if it's going to remain on the market after Aug. 8, 2018 if nothing changes."
If this does not change before 2018, stores will be forced to close due to the pricey application process.
There is currently a bill going through Congress that could help stores if the FDA regulations change the 2007 product date.
"The Cole-Bishop Amendment, which is attached to the Appropriations Bill, is what Congress will look at before the end of the year," said Blankenship. "It will move that product date to the date that the regulation went into effect which was August 8."
If the Appropriations Bill does pass, stores will be able to continue selling products that existed before August 8, 2016, without sending them through the application process.
There will still be regulations and it may stop product advancement but it could ease financial pains.