Local Vaping Retailer Reports Losses
For the past six years, the eCig Market on the western edge of Brooklyn Park has been a go-to spot for anyone looking to stock up on vaping products.
“We’ve been here just helping people quit smoking cigarettes. It’s all we really do,” said Tristan Parker, the store manager. “Everybody here is really passionate about just helping people kick that bend, trying to get off them cigarettes.”
The big selling point is that vaping is a better-tasting and less-harmful alternative to cigarettes.
“You can ask most cigarette smokers and they’ll tell you the cigarettes they smoke do not taste pleasant at all,” Parker said.
While federal officials haven’t officially approved e-cigarettes as an aid to quit regular cigarettes, the CDC says vaping is less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes because the aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than cigarette smoke. As a result, sales have steadily increased throughout the years. That is, until recently.
CDC Warnings Scaring Off Vaping Shop Customers
“All the people are scared of these headlines and stuff like that,” Parker said. Headlines such as one currently on the CDC’s website talking about the outbreak of lung-related injuries associated with vaping.
As of mid-October, there have been 1,749 injuries and 33 deaths nationwide. However, most of those cases were linked to illicit products containing THC, a component of marijuana.
“We don’t sell any THC products whatsoever,” Parker said. “It’s all underground, black market items that these people are buying and getting.”
Yet the CDC is still asking people to refrain from use of all e-cigarette products as they work to determine the exact cause of the illnesses. The news has meant a reversal of fortune for many e-cigarette shops as people go back to old habits.
“The FDA and the government implementing these things is actually causing more people to smoke cigarettes again,” Parker said. He says hiring any new staff is on the back burner for now. Yet as the federal investigation into the effects of vaping continues, he remains optimistic.
“You know, we’re doing what we can,” Parker said. “We’re kicking in there. The numbers do look like they’re going up slowly.”
According to the American Vaping Association, about 200 e-cigarette stores nationwide have closed since Aug. 1.