Fort Worth

North Texas Businesses Say a Vaping Ban Could Have Detrimental Impact

In Fort Worth's Vapor Galleria, business has only grown since the doors opened seven years ago.

"They rely on us to sell them their e-liquid, so they don't go back to cigarettes," general manager Carla Schiavoni said.

Schiavoni said though vaping was an alternative to tobacco for many, most didn't want it to taste like it.

Instead, she said 90% of Vapor Galleria's sales were generated by 100 different flavors of e-liquid, the most popular of which is dessert, fruit or menthol flavored.

That's why she was immediately worried by Wednesday's announcement from the White House about a move to ban those flavors.

"I was shocked because if this ends up going through, you're talking about putting a whole industry out of business," Schiavoni said.

The announcement came in the wake of nearly 500 reported illnesses around the country and six deaths, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked to vaping.

Fourteen of those illnesses were reported in Dallas County.

"These are previously healthy teens that are now in life, death situations," said Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang.

Huang said the department has spent the last several years concerned about the growing number of teens turning to vaping. He said he believed the ban was a good move, and said it would eliminate flavors used to market to teens.

"It's repeating history with what happened with combustible cigarettes, and that's what’s been of concern," Huang said.

But as she worries about her business, Schiavoni said she believed the vaping industry has been unfairly targeted for a problem she doesn't believe came from them.

"I don't think Trump has all the facts. And I think he really needs to look at what those kids were vaping and what was in it and where it came from," Schiavoni said.

She also said she believed a ban could encourage people to make their own e-liquid, which she said would lead to even more illnesses.

The FDA is set to release a plan for removing flavored e-cigarettes from the market in the coming weeks.

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