As Delaware prepares to amend the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act to prevent indoor vaping in public places, vape lounges and e-cig stores throughout the state are lobbying against the legislation in an attempt to have indoor vaping exempted from the act. As it is, indoor vaping will be banned in Delaware when the law goes into place, if vaping proponents can’t successfully appeal their case.
All of this comes as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to introduce regulations on e-cigarettes in June. Delaware’s recent legislation, which is being spearheaded by state Rep. Debra Heffernan, passed through the House Health Committee in early April, effectively adding e-cigs to the Indoor Clean Air act. This means that e-cig users will no longer be able to vape in Delaware’s restaurants or other places of business.
No More Sampling Indoors, No More Vape Lounges
A significant percentage of the people switching to e-cigs are longtime smokers looking for a substitute that can replace their smoking habit. As such, many quitting smokers want to test e-cigs and vape pens before they buy them, to ensure that the experience provides a satisfactory substitute for their cigarette habit.
Shop owners and patrons have noted that people who come to the vape lounges aren’t just bonding over their use of e-cigs, but also their shared effort to quit smoking. Some e-cig proponents are concerned that getting rid of vape lounges will hurt the anti-smoking culture in the area and could reduce the number of smokers who choose to quit by using the vape lounge as an outlet.
Business Expected to Decline for Vape Shops in Delaware
Right now there are about 20 e-cig shops in the state of Delaware, with about 7 more set to open soon. However, vape shop owners estimate that up to 60 percent of this burgeoning local business could be lost if customers are no longer able to try out e-cigs in their vape lounges.
Many customers choose to shop for their e-cigs locally because they get to try the vaping liquids and devices before they buy, which is a distinct advantage over buying the items online without the opportunity to try first. Since local vape shops will no longer have this advantage on their side, shop owners are concerned that customers will turn to online competitors for their vaping needs. Products like natural e-liquids are typically offered at much cheaper prices because of lower overheads.
Waiting on the Verdict
Earlier this month during the committee hearing, some of the owners of Delaware vape shops spent several hours lobbying lawmakers on the House floor in an attempt to have e-cigs and vaping liquid made exempt from the Indoor Clean Air Act. The bill is expected to be heard by the House soon, although an exact date has not yet been given.
Thus, all shop owners and patrons have left to do is play the waiting game to see whether their appeal will be taken seriously by members of the House. If not, the state could see a noticeable drop in local e-cig sales, which of course would not only hurt the business and fellowship of local vape lounges, but also the state’s ability to reap taxes from e-cig sales, an issue that is also expected to be addressed in the coming legislation in June.