Vape shop to open in former city centre Greenwoods store

Another vape shop is set to open in the city centre – after the old Greenwoods unit was snapped up.

A sign in the window of the Hanley shop reveals E-Cig International is ‘coming soon’. Any immediate plans have been put on hold due to the second national lockdown which is due to finish on December 2.

It comes almost two years after Greenwoods closed its Stafford Street store following the retailer’s collapse into administration.

Now shoppers are concerned that vape shops are taking over Hanley.

Kev Warrilow, aged 42, of Bentilee, said: “Quite a few of these shops are opening – they seem to be all over the place.

“There are five places on Stafford Street where you can get them. There’s too many.”

The former Greenwoods unit forms part of the Moxon Island building which is now under new ownership. It is one of two empty units.

Big names and local independent operators currently operating within Moxon Island include The Works, Specsavers, Forbidden Planet, Schuropody, Central Store Newsagents, Rowfers and the PDSA charity shop.

State moves ahead with M. 101 tobacco tax hike, new e-cigarette/vaping tax

To fund health care for low-income families, public health programs

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) –With the approval of Measure 108 by Oregon voters earlier this week, the Department of Revenue said Thursday it is moving ahead with the implementation of increases in cigarette and tobacco taxes along with a new tax on inhalant delivery products.

As a result of the passage of the measure, the public will see the following changes beginning January 1:
• The cigarette tax will increase by $2 per pack of 20 and $2.50 per pack of 25.
• Little cigars, collectively weighing less than 3 pounds per 1,000, will be taxed as cigarettes, will require an Oregon cigarette tax stamp, and must be sold in sealed packages of at least 20.
• Inhalant delivery systems, such as vaping and e-cigarette products, will be taxed at a rate of 65% of the wholesale purchase price.
• The cap on the tax on cigars increases from 50 cents to $1.

As outlined in the approved ballot measure, revenue produced by the tax changes will be used by the Oregon Health Authority to fund health care coverage for low-income families, including mental health services, and public health programs, including programs addressing tobacco- and nicotine-related disease.

The Department of Revenue will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 24 on a series of administrative rules implementing the changes. Information about the hearing is available on the agency’s website.

Tobacco distributors and retailers, inhalant delivery product and e-cigarette dealers, and the public can also find answers to a list of frequently asked questions on the website.

To stay updated on Oregon cigarette and tobacco tax law changes, interested parties can subscribe to email updates. Those with questions can call 503-945-8120 or email [email protected].

To get tax forms, check the status of your refund or make tax payments, visit www.oregon.gov/dor or email [email protected]. You also can call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon. For TTY (hearing- or speech-impaired), we accept all relay calls.

Election / Government-politics / News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories

Major Anti-Vaping Scientific Study Retracted

Vaping is supposed to be a form of harm reduction, that is, allow nicotine addicts to have access to the drug without the harmful tars and chemicals in cigarettes that cause cancer, heart disease, and other maladies.

Last year, the Journal of the American Heart Association published a study finding that vaping posed as great a heart risk as smoking itself. That study fueled public policies at all levels of government to stifle the industry. A lot of small business people had their livelihoods destroyed or damaged as a result.

Now, the study has been retracted — which is a very big deal in science — because the editors are “concerned that the study conclusion is unreliable” due to what appears to have been an uncompleted peer review process. From the retraction:

During peer review, the reviewers identified the important question of whether the myocardial infarctions occurred before or after the respondents initiated e‐cigarette use, and requested that the authors use additional data in the PATH codebook (age of first MI and age of first e‐cigarettes use) to address this concern. While the authors did provide some additional analysis, the reviewers and editors did not confirm that the authors had both understood and complied with the request prior to acceptance of the article for publication.

But it was published anyway and an industry received a body blow.

Some might say that this is how science is supposed to work, self correcting, following the data, etc.. Right. But somehow mistakes in science these days always seem to cut in the same direction.

That may be because science journals have grown increasingly ideologicalNature has endorsed Joe Biden for president and promised to publish more political science — which isn’t “science” at all. The New England Journal of Medicine should change its name to the New Ideology Journal of MedicineScience has endorsed “nature rights.” The list goes on and on.

Remember, the same editors that promote ideological agendas choose the articles to be sent out for peer review and the peer reviewers.

I am no longer convinced that establishment science follows the data wherever it leads regardless of the conclusion reached. Too often in areas of cultural or political controversies, there are other agendas at play.

If “the scientists” want to understand why many people are increasingly reluctant to blindly “follow the science,” they should look in the mirror.

Electronic cigarettes sales continue to rise in USA

E-cigarettes and vaping products are facing headwinds from all sides — from regulatory challenges to competition from nicotine replacement products to disruption amid COVID-19, which has nudged some vapers back to combustible tobacco products.

Still, demand for e-cigs and vape products continues to grow. C-store dollar sales of electronic cigarettes have risen a hefty 6.8% for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 9, according to IRI, and unit sales are surging, seeing a 15.6% rise for the same period. And that’s with an average price drop of $1.13 per unit.

Hurdles Abound

But the regulatory heat is rising. Most recently, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., signed into law Senate Bill 793, a flavored vaping ban, on Aug. 28. Chicago passed a flavored vape ban on Sept. 9, and backers of an Illinois state initiative that stalled last year said they plan to try again in 2021. 

Municipal and state bans are nothing new to vape manufacturers and retailers. And until federal guidelines, in the form of policy and/or legislation, set a standard for all jurisdictions those local restrictions will continue to trouble more convenience operators. 

Electronic cigarettes sales continue to rise in USA

Mark Lapierre, director of category management for Sylvania, Ohio-based S&G Stores’ 55 Stop & Go and In & Out Mart locations in Northwest Ohio, is already hampered by citywide regulation. Like other municipalities, e-cigarettes and vape products could be next.

“We have menthol ban in Toledo city limits, which is difficult for us,” said Lapierre. “I think it’s going to follow the normal gambit, but I certainly hope there’re enough lawsuits that crush it.”

More bans are on the horizon, according to Greg Conley, president of the nonprofit American Vape Association. 

“There are tax hikes on the Colorado and Oregon ballots that are likely to pass,” Conley warned. “We’re going to see tobacco tax increases in many states at least tried this year because of COVID. State coffers, states that started off without a great amount of money in reserve, they are going to be hurting.”

That revenue shortfall may hold off state attempts at flavor bans, Conley added, because state legislators will be heavily focused on filling government coffers. That sentiment could play out through 2021, as well.

Electronic cigarettes sales continue to rise in USA

The pandemic also brought fears that vape product consumers would return to traditional tobacco products, and there has been evidence of that scenario playing out in convenience stores.

“What we’re seeing out in the rest of the country, in the news, is that a lot of people switched back to combustibles,” Lapierre said. “I don’t think vape sales have necessarily dropped.”

Lapierre noted that e-cigarettes and vape are already seeing co

mpetition in his set from non-tobacco nicotine products. As for the future of the set, Lapierre expects to continue carrying vape, which he believes will continue as a key segment. “But the rest of it is for nicotine replacement products. And that could be anything from ZYN and Rogue,” he said of the remainder of his tobacco set. 

Watching California

And as far as the California ban taking place on Jan 1, 2021, Conley said retailers shouldn’t hold their breath. The California Coalition for Fairness filed papers Aug. 31 to begin the process to place the ban on the ballot, according to a Sept. 1 report from the “Los Angeles Times.” Should the group collect the nearly 625,000 valid signatures needed, the tobacco ban would be on hold until voters weigh in. That could be as late as 2022.

While that may be good news for c-store operators and others retailing vaping products, the specter of municipal regulation is a constant presence. 

“So that’s two more years of Californians being able to access flavors,” said Conley. “But the bad news is that California local governments — you probably already have 30%, if not more of the state, living under flavor bans right now.”Electronic cigarettes sales continue to rise in USA

Proposition EE: Experts weigh in on impact of tobacco, vaping tax measure

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado voters will have a tough decision to make when it comes to one ballot measure. Proposition EE, which if approved in November, would hike taxes on tobacco products and levy the first-ever tax on vaping.

HOUSE BILL 20-1427

Cigarette taxes would gradually increase over the next seven years from 84 cents per pack to $2.64. Vaping taxes would increase in line with other tobacco products.

Lawmakers created the measure to accomplish three things: backfill some of the budget cuts to K-12 education, provide additional tobacco cessation and prevention services, and fund universal free preschool.

“We know that early childhood education is important and so it’s an investment in our future here in Colorado. The funding through the taxation will go to fund that universal preschool for all children age four so they get that important early preschool that will prepare them for kindergarten,” said Trish Eells, Nurse Practitioner at The Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Advocates for the measure say by increasing taxes on tobacco products and closing the tax loophole on vape products, teens will be deterred from getting the products.

“History tells us that taxation reduces consumption so therefore we’re compelling more people to quit and support them in their effort to do so with the money that will be available for cessation programs. We are also hoping to discourage kids from ever wanting to pick up the habit,” said Eells. “It’s about saving lives and protecting our kids from the risk of tobacco and vape products.”

Eells says vaping creates lifelong addiction and health problems related to nicotine. She says kids who vape have trouble learning in school, decreased cognitive abilities, short attention span, and more likely to be impulsive. As adults, they’re more likely to have mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

“Proposition EE allows us to address the cycle of addiction and intervene, promoting health for our kids,” said Eells. “It will also give us the opportunity to learn more about addiction medicine in kids and teenagers. There is a lot that we don’t know, it’s not that easy to tell someone to quick smoking or vaping.”

But those against the measure are concerned with a tax hike during a pandemic as well as how the Proposition EE funds are appropriated.

“We don’t know who qualifies for the funds or how they are distributed. Is it everyone in the state that will have access to preschool? What about cities like Denver that already have a preschool tax. Will they receive any money? Is this a preschool voucher program?” said Michelle Lyng, spokesperson for “No on EE- A Bad Deal for Colorado.

Lyng says there are too many unanswered questions with Proposition EE, especially when it comes to where the funds will go.

“I know funds will not go to preschool, not a dime will go to preschool for two in a half years if ever. There is nothing in Proposition EE that requires the state legislature to spend the funds collected from this tax on preschool,” said Lyng. “These funds go to this potential preschool program after they’ve funded the following existing programs: Tobacco Education Fund, General Fund, Eviction Legal Defense Fund, Rural Schools Fund, Cash Fund, and etc.”

Lyng says if health experts want to focus on curbing tobacco and vaping use then more funds should be placed in cessation. She says only a small portion is allocated to cessation then the rest goes to the state legislature which can decide to spend the funds elsewhere.

“Setting aside this money is dependent on the state legislature,” said Lyng. “Colorado has a history of passing tax hikes for a specific purpose and those funds from the tax hikes don’t necessarily fulfill the promise to voters.”

Tanner Adams, CEO of Chief Vapor, is not for or against the ballot measure but believes it will hurt the adults trying to quit smoking.

“With the tax, it will raise prices for e-cigarette smokers and make them more reluctant to go to vaping and shove some of them back to smoking,” said Adams. “We are hoping to lower costs for our consumers so that more will join vaping and make it positive for them and their family.”

With his vape shop, Adam says he advertises to the adults trying to quit smoking or wean themselves off of cigarettes. When it comes to teens, they ensure ID’s are checked and scanned to ensure they don’t sell to an underage minor.

“We don’t want kids addicted. The reason I got into this is that I saw the benefit of how it helps adult smokers get off of smoking,” said Adams. “We don’t feel like we are negative to the community and we try to do everything for the community.”

If the measure is approved, Adams says they’ll adapt pricing so their customers aren’t too impacted.

Teen e-cigarette use declined in 2020

The number of high school and middle school students using e-cigarettes dropped off this year, declining from last year’s record high. Just under 20 percent of high schoolers and about 5 percent of middle schoolers said that they currently used the products, according to the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which was conducted between January and March.

Last year, 27.5 percent of high school students and 10.5 percent of middle school students said they used e-cigarettes.

“Although the decline in e-cigarette use among our Nation’s youth is a notable public health achievement, our work is far from over,” said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press release.

Teen use of a drug usually declines when that substance starts to seem riskier, Richard Miech, co-investigator of the Monitoring the Future study and professor at the University of Michigan, told The Verge last year. Last summer and fall, hundreds of lung injuries were linked to vaping. Investigations found that the injuries were likely linked to vitamin E acetate in THC-containing vaping products.

The US surgeon general called youth vaping an “epidemic” in 2018, after teen use of the products started to spike. That year, the National Youth Tobacco Survey found a 78 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use compared to the previous year. E-cigarette use jumped again in 2019. Monitoring the Future, another annual teen drug use survey, also found sharp increases in teen vaping between 2017 and 2019, for both nicotine and marijuana.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took steps to curb e-cigarette use among teenagers, mainly by focusing on flavored tobacco products, which surveys showed were most popular with that age group. In January, the FDA ordered companies to pull any flavored products from the market. The agency also scrutinized the popular e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, over concerns it was intentionally marketing its products to teens. The company stopped selling flavored products in October 2019.

But teenagers are still using flavored e-cigarettes, according to the new survey data. Around 83 percent of the high schoolers who used e-cigarettes said they used flavored ones.

Pre-filled pods or cartridges (which get inserted into a reusable device) were the most widely used e-cigarette products for middle and high school students. But disposable vapes jumped in popularity this year — 1,000 percent more high school students used them in 2020 than in 2019.

Declaring the vape industry illegal will only drive it underground

Amid all the bad news of the COVID-19 pandemic, one bright spot was the relative resilience of young people. Then came a survey of more than 4,000 people aged 13 to 24 conducted in May: Users of e-cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than non-users.

Since one in five 18- to 29-year-olds reports vaping regularly, the link to COVID-19 triggered a call in Congress for the FDA to clear e-cigarette products from the market for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

The reaction is understandable but short-sighted. Declaring a multi-billion dollar industry illegal will only drive it underground. It will also make the health effects of vaping even more difficult to ascertain.

COVID-19 is not only putting thousands of Americans on ventilators; it is also sucking the oxygen from long term public health concerns. A prime example is the poor regulation of vaping compounds and devices. We know more about how the coronavirus acts on the lungs than we know about the lung effects of the different vaping liquids sold on the U.S. market. This is mainly because we have limited knowledge of all the ingredients contained in vaping cartridges and oils sold legally in stores and vape shops across the U.S., let alone those sold on the internet.

Just as we need to test more people to contain the virus, we need to know what is contained in vaping oils and test all vaping products — assessing how high a device might heat liquids put in it — ensuring their safety. That is not being done, and even minimal safety regulations won’t affect all products until August 2022.

Even without a pandemic, widespread testing of vaping compounds and devices would be a vital public health issue. The possibility that vaping makes young lungs more vulnerable to COVID-19 creates an immediate crisis.

The use of e-cigarettes to vaporize nicotine, rather than burn tobacco with its associated carcinogenic tars, was initially hailed as a health breakthrough. Manufacturers were told in 2016 that they did not have to meet stringent pharmaceutical safety standards, as they were regulated by the FDA like tobacco instead of pharmaceuticals. The stage was set for a weakly regulated system that allowed e-cigarette and nicotine delivery products with unknown ingredients and additives to be legally sold. The market boomed, resulting in more than 460 different e-cigarette brands today.

The main retail source of e-cigarettes is vape shops. They frequently mix and distribute their e-liquids, with no oversight. Cannabinol (CBD) oils are also commonly sold in vape shops, even in states where cannabis remains illegal. One survey of 30 CBD products found that one third contained variations of synthetic cannabis and other potentially harmful chemicals.

Vitamin E acetate, a thickening substance used in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), was linked to an outbreak of lung injuries from vaping that killed 60 people in the United States last year. But it is far from clear that lung injuries can be blamed on that substance alone. Too much is unknown about the ingredients and chemistry of vaping.

A public that was initially hopeful that e-cigarettes would help reduce smoking and addiction is turning skeptical. A recent study found that most people who intended to use e-cigarettes to kick the nicotine habit ended up continuing to smoke both traditional and e-cigarettes. Products from Juul, the largest maker of e-cigarettes sold in the United States, contain three times the liquid nicotine concentration than the same Juul products sold in Europe. Other e-cigarette manufacturers continue to develop and aggressively market stealth vaping devices, resembling USB sticks, pens, asthma inhalers, and car fobs that can be easily hidden, enabling teens to hide their habit from parents and teachers.

It is past time to get a handle on what is being sold in the nation’s vape shops. All products, including the proprietary liquids mixed at the shops, should be tested and their ingredients reported to the FDA. The shops should be prohibited from selling products — including delivery devices — that have not been tested. While it may not be possible to certify that a vaping product is 100 percent safe, testing will enable a complete picture of the health effects of vaping and hopefully weed out the pernicious chemicals that can lead to lung injury and greater vulnerability to disease, such as the coronavirus.

The unregulated vaping market today is a wild west of hucksters, unsubstantiated claims, and unknown ingredients. The health of our nation, particularly our young people, is riding on getting it under control.

The author Rosalie Liccardo Pacula is a senior fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics and is president of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy. 

FDA to review huge applications from vaping companies

Wednesday’s long-delayed deadline for e-cigarette companies to seek permission from the Food and Drug Administration to keep selling their products is launching a new era of uncertainty for the industry and a slog for regulators facing applications that can exceed 100,000 pages.

Anyone who wants to sell vaping products in the United States — the hardware, flavored nicotine liquids, or pre-filled pods used in devices like Juul — must send the FDA a premarket tobacco product application, or PMTA, before midnight for electronic submissions. New tobacco products have to show a net public health benefit compared with cigarettes.

The deadline arrives several years after public alarm started to grow over youth use of e-cigarettes. National survey data released Wednesday show that about 20 percent of high school students reported vaping in the past month, after a rise to 27.5 percent in 2019. There is evidence that e-cigarette use can increase the risk of later using more harmful traditional cigarettes. And while cases of a mysterious lung illness that spread last year were mostly linked to black-market marijuana vaping, it highlighted the risks of an unregulated vaping market.

Public health experts and many lawmakers have urged the FDA to ban flavors unless manufacturers can prove they are necessary to help adult smokers quit and don’t result in youth use. But those who advocate vaping as an important tool for helping adults quit combustible cigarettes say the FDA’s process will lead to businesses closing and people seeking their preferred vaping flavors on a black market.

The FDA has a year, under a court order, to assess the companies’ data and decide which devices or flavors can be legally sold. In the meantime, the agency says it will start deciding whether applications are complete and warrant a further review. Applicants whose submissions are accepted can keep selling their existing products for a year.

The FDA first asserted jurisdiction over the products four years ago but repeatedly delayed this deadline. Some lawmakers frustrated with the FDA’s pace want swift action from the agency now.

“The FDA must clear the market of e-cigarettes that miss the application deadline or have their application denied,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., who has convened hearings on e-cigarettes as chairman of the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

But it could be months, if not well into 2021, before the FDA makes any decisions that alter the vaping landscape or affect the trajectory of underage use.

Avalanche of applications

Part of the challenge is the sheer number of applications. The FDA last week said the market for vaping products is so large that “the likelihood of FDA reviewing all of these applications during the one-year review period is low” since the cache of applications will be “several orders of magnitude greater than anything the Agency has experienced.”

The high number is due to the wide variety of flavors made by thousands of small vape shops. Shops that make their own liquid nicotines, also known as e-liquids, usually offer dozens if not hundreds of flavors. Those come with different nicotine strengths and volumes, adding up to thousands of distinct products that each require an application.

That puts smaller businesses at a disadvantage compared with some of the biggest e-cigarette companies, who often have more money and expertise but fewer products requiring paperwork.

For instance, Juul Labs Inc. curtailed its flavor options after new data in 2019 showed how popular its vaping device had become among young people. Juul and others making devices that use pre-filled pods or cartridges with nicotine liquid can now sell only two flavors: tobacco and menthol.

Juul’s flavors come in two nicotine strengths. So Juul’s submission package, including data on its device, covers just five products. It’s still 125,000 pages long, the company said in July. Juul announced in August that the FDA had accepted its package for a review.

Reynolds American Inc., whose Vuse device is similar to Juul, announced in August that it filed a PMTA for a mixed berry flavor in addition to tobacco and menthol offerings.

When the Trump administration ordered an end to sales of flavored cartridges and pods earlier this year, sales of liquids for devices with refillable tanks were allowed to continue. Officials argued that those types of vaping devices are commonly used by adult former cigarette smokers and less popular with kids because they are more expensive and harder to conceal.

It’s unclear if the FDA will continue to apply the same logic, or if the small shops that make their own e-liquids will be able to generate the evidence required to get clearance.

The standard, with companies needing to show that the products are appropriate for the protection of public health, means the FDA says it will consider a product’s likelihood of weaning current smokers off cigarettes and its likelihood of creating new nicotine users.

The FDA says it will weigh each application individually. In previous instances when a new product was authorized through a PMTA, the FDA noted that its appeal to non-tobacco users would likely be minimal.

Applicants need to submit scientific studies assessing those public health factors, as well as data showing whether there are harmful health effects for individuals from vaping. Companies like Juul have been able to conduct new studies using their products, while smaller companies are relying on published literature, like a comprehensive review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that found e-cigarettes less harmful than combustible cigarettes but said their overall public health benefit was unclear.

Some vape shops are trying the regulatory equivalent of a Hail Mary pass, in the absence of rigorous scientific data, by collecting anecdotal evidence of how their customers are former smokers in middle age, not kids.

Char Owen, a Texas vape shop owner with a background in programming and engineering, said she developed a software application that would allow other owners like her to automate some of the paperwork to make it more feasible to file applications for hundreds of flavors.

Owen is still pessimistic about her chances. She pointed to one of the previous PMTA authorizations, for a tobacco-heating device called iQOS, as proof that the FDA would want to see human studies that would cost millions of dollars to conduct.

“That’s what they want to see. We’re small businesses; we can’t provide that.” Using anecdotal evidence from customers “really is our only hope,” she said.

Michael Siegel, a public health professor at Boston University who supports vaping as a smoking alternative for adults, said he expects that big e-cigarette players will likely survive, with vape shops going by the wayside. That could lead people who want their old flavors back to seek out a black-market alternative or start making it themselves at home.

“The irony of the whole thing is that by trying to regulate the market in this way, they are going to end up creating an unregulated market,” he said.

Responsible adults who vape should have access to flavors

The people who vape in Larimer county are responsible adults in our community who are looking for stores, like my former store, Legacy Vapors, to help them find solutions to end their addiction to smoking cigarettes. Vaping is a healthier alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes. Similar to how adults can make choices about which condiments to put on their food, which flavor of liquor to consume, or which candy bar to consume, adults should have the same options when it comes to vapor flavors.

Thanks to COVID combined with overregulation, I made the painful choice to close my store. The one misunderstanding about vape shops is our purpose. Unlike a restaurant, liquor store or candy store, vape shops are providing less harmful products to responsible adults. Vapor stores are, instead, providing a pathway for people over the age of 21 who are looking to stop smoking combustible cigarettes, which contains more than 7,000 chemicals in one cigarette, and to create a healthier lifestyle by switching to vapor products, which contain fewer than 12 ingredients.

Unfortunately, the state of Colorado classified small vape stores as nonessential during the COVID-19 pandemic closures and closed all vapor stores for more than six weeks. The result of that six-week closure and the potential regulations by Larimer County this fall forced me to make the decision to close my store and lay off my employees. This was not a decision I took lightly, and one I stewed over for weeks. At a time in America’s history when unemployment is at an all-time high, and people are being laid off, or were laid off and having trouble finding work, now is not the time for local governments to regulate small businesses out of business and force more layoffs.

As the former owner of Legacy Vapors, I also understand it was my responsibility to prevent youth vaping. Most people under the age of 21 obtain vapor products from people who are of age. My store and other local vape shops that I work with do not allow people under the age of 21 to come into the stores, and we trained employees to look for people buying more than the average customer. This allowed employees to have conversations with customers to ensure they are only purchasing for themselves. I do not stand for underage smoking of cigarettes or vaping, and will continue to work with other stores in the county to ensure that products are not sold to people under 21 years of age.

If Larimer County puts a flavor ban on the ballot and it passes, it would destroy small businesses across the county by taking almost 95% of products off shelves overnight, leading to many job losses. Additionally, a flavor ban would limit vaping options for Coloradans over the age of 21, which does not give these adults the freedom of choice that they would have in a restaurant, liquor store or candy shop. Before I was forced to close, our customer base had been smoking for 30 to 40 years and simply did not want a vape that tastes like tobacco. Can you relate?

It’s my mission to help people, including those at the local and state levels, understand what a flavor ban will do to small businesses. Not only will more small businesses shut down, employees will be left jobless, leases will be broken, but the bigger issue is that the county would effectively force people who vape to revert to combustible cigarettes. With the stress of COVID-19 on everyone, now is not the time to reduce healthier options for people who smoke, nor is it the time to close small businesses who have survived COVID or to create more layoffs. I urge the leaders of Larimer County to reconsider a flavor ban on the ballot in November, as it would only have negative effects on people that vaping should be helping. As a vaping advocate, I believe it is important for Loveland to provide alternatives for responsible adults who want to quit smoking combustible cigarettes.

Brenner Brightbill is former owner of Legacy Vapors and a vape advocate in Loveland.