Lubbock vape shops defend flavored products in wake of White House criticism

KCBD Newschannel 11 at 10 vaping reaction 9/12/2019

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Reports say a sixth person has died from lung disease said to be related to vaping. Now President Donald Trump says big changes may be coming for vaping companies, including possibly requiring e-cigarette companies to get rid of all their flavors.

The Health and Human Services Secretary at the White House says it will take several weeks before the proposal goes into effect, but if e-cigarettes are required to limit or get rid of all their flavors, local vape shops would end up taking a lot of product off their shelves, unless the flavor is tobacco.

Nicholas Lopez told us his vape shop received between 50 to 100 phone calls on Wednesday asking questions after the new policy proposal was announced. He says the majority of vape shops in Lubbock are local businesses and the idea of restricting some vaping products would not only be detrimental for their shop, but a bad move for the smokers here trying to quit.

“They scream that vaping is bad because potentially six people died from it, but 480,000 Americans will die this year from tobacco-related illnesses. That seems to be the epidemic that nobody’s looking at today,” Lopez said.

Lopez is the assistant manager at Electric Cloud Vapors on Marsha Sharp. He says he used to smoked cigarettes for 15 years, even at one point smoking two packs a day. That all stopped when he started vaping.

“Once I got involved with vaping, I could definitely feel the difference in my body,” he said.

Lopez says he hasn’t picked up a cigarette since he started vaping five years ago. Now, he’s a big proponent for vaping.

“It’s a huge passion to help people get off of what essentially will kill you. We know today cigarettes will kill you. It will kill people.”

He says there are four ingredients in vaping: water, PGVG (a sweet liquid that produces the vapor), nicotine, and flavor. He says the vaping liquid sold in stores is not the problem and taking it off the market would create a bigger problem.

“You’re just leaving that market for a black market and where does that help in anything? Prohibition has never helped with that cause. We got to find a better way to regulate that, not banning completely.”

Not to mention, he says a ban will put a lot of employees out of a job.

“Locally, that would instantly probably shut down all the businesses here. The people that worked for the industry, the industry in West Texas, will be out of a job.”

Lopez says he’s not discouraged by what has happened. He says he knows vaping is not 100% safe, it’s just a safer option than smoking and if it’s taken off the market, it’ll just force vapors to just turn back to cigarettes.

“This is not a safe product. Nobody’s ever said that. It is a safer alternative to smoking. I can honestly say that any time you put anything in your lungs is probably not safe for you, but we’re here to help smokers get off smoking.”

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