Hazy future looms for Mitchell’s local vape shop
Amid a recent Food and Drug Administration regulation that clamped down on vaping, the future of Mitchell’s local vape shop is hazy.
“By 2022, I think all local vape shops will be forced to close,” said Andreas Unruh, owner of FogNDroz vape shop, located at 1007 N. Main St.
On Aug. 8, 2016, the FDA finalized a regulation that deemed vaping devices, nicotine gels, e-juice and e-cigarettes as tobacco products, which make up almost all of the items Unruh sells at his shop. The regulation created a new set of standards in which vaping products had to abide by, adding serious challenges for Unruh’s local vape shop.
“Once they changed us to being an actual tobacco product, that also meant we can only advertise to adult venues only,” Unruh said. “If you try to sell something on Facebook, or even mention vape, it will be flagged instantly, so we are very limited to where we can advertise.”
Generally a vaping device consists of a mouthpiece, a cartridge containing the nicotine gel or e-juice, and a battery powered heating component for the device. E-cigarettes became widely popular since their introduction into the U.S. market in 2006, which blossomed into the creation of the vaping industry.
Part of the FDA’s reasoning behind enforcing the recent regulations were health concerns and the vaping industry targeting minors. In 2014, South Dakota made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and vapes to minors, taking a proactive step against tobacco use among minors.
“I have daughters of my own, and all of the things the FDA said I needed to do, I was already complying with in the first place,” Unruh said. “And over the years, the FDA has backpedaled on a few things in the (2016 rule), so that shows there is a lack of understanding in the vaping industry.”
Under the regulation, any vaping tobacco product and e-juice that was manufactured after Aug. 8, 2016, will be forced to comply with the extensive list of standards found in the FDA regulations regarding vaping products.
In order to abide by the long list of standards found in the regulations, Unruh said it would cost him and many other vaping retailers a fortune.
Prior to the 2016 regulation, vape shops were allowed to produce their own e-juices, which is the liquid nicotine found in the vaping devices. Unruh originally produced his own e-juice on site at FogNDroz, but FDA regulations ended that practice, prompting him to become a sole retailer rather than a manufacturer.