We are all getting used to the post-regulation era of vaping and the changes are starting to sink in. Even before regulations, vape shops were not able to compete with the prices being offered by online sources. That was a disadvantage. The advantage of a vape shop was that they could offer customer service. They could show you how to assemble a new mod, how to work it and how to put in the batteries. They could show you how to build a coil and advise you on the best settings for vaping. Now they can do none of those things.
A customer service person in a vape shop is now not allowed to show you anything about any product you buy from a vape shop. They can’t even take it out of the box for you. They can’t show you what a good wattage setting is for vaping a certain coil. They can’t show you a good temp setting for stainless steel coils. They can’t physically show you how to make coils and they sure as heck can’t make a coil for you. They also can’t offer any fixes for your mod. Why? Because if they do any of this the FDA says that they become a tobacco manufacturer. You can’t make this up.
Post-regulation, vape shops can act as a place to pick up vaping gear and e-liquids but they are not allowed to offer anything in the way of the most basic customer service. Not long ago, you could go into a vape shop and have a Clapton coil built or have your mod fixed, now you are on your own if you deal with vape shops. The FDA may be proud of themselves but what they have done is put people in the path of danger.
Why The FDA Regulations Are Dangerous
I took the picture above at Vape Madness in Burbank, CA. I visit Vape madness quite often and it is a great shop. The owner, Art, never sells cheap, garage blended e-liquids, in fact Art does not sell anything with a nicotine level over 18 mg. He never sells to anyone underage and that is for sure. Vape Madness self-regulated to a point of ethical responsibility that would make anyone proud.
Be that as it may, Vape Madness is now unable to offer basic customer service functions. They have been thrown under the bus by the FDA. Most people already buy online because the prices are better. At ECCR we know the importance of vape shops but even we have to recommend to our customers that they buy online for the best prices and best quality. That said, the way I see it is that smoking is killing people and the more avenues to reach smokers and to get them to switch, the better. At the end of the day we are all on the same side.
Now that vape shop staff are not allowed to offer even the most basic advice or demonstration to customers, it is the customers who pay the price. Take for example someone who is new to vaping and without instruction or having seen it done right, builds a coil incorrectly and leads to a fire and exploding ecig case. Or someone uses too high a wattage for a certain coil and ends up with such a bad experience they go back to cigarettes. This is the outcome of not being able to offer the most basic level of customer service. It hurts business, jobs and puts people at risk. The FDA did not consult vapers when deciding laws and their ignorance shows.
FDA Deny’s Business The Right To Serve Customers
Since August 8, a number of e-liquid brands have gone out of business. Vape shops are carrying less stock, especially when it comes to vape juice. Vape shops are no longer mixing e-juice in the back rooms and while that is probably a good thing, you can see that overall the restrictions are limiting choices for smokers seeking an alternative. Of course no one is even allowed to mention vaping as being less harmful essentially forcing censorship of hundreds of vaping studies that show just that.
Because of the FDA regulation that no product can be given away, testing vape juice flavors now costs a small fee. At Vape Madness the fee is only 25 cents.
The worst part is that responsible, professional vape shops like Vape Madness are not able to use their assets to improve customer experience. The staff have experience vaping and building and now they are unable to show customers how to safely operate devices or to build coils. That’s like going to a mechanic and he or she sells you a fuel pump but can’t put it in for you or even show you how to put it in. No wonder vape shops from coast to coast are looking toward the future with deep concern.
We need to fight these overreaching regulations and we can do it. There are now millions of vapers in the US and we have the potential to form a powerful lobby of our own. Right now we are being ignored. That’s what we can change. Right now the negative press being heaped on vaping is staggering but that will change as well because the science that shows the benefits of vaping is constantly growing and impossible to ignore. Tweet about vaping, post our articles on your Facebook feeds. Let’s get the word out.
You can also click the link below to help the Right To Be Smoke Free coalition in their fight against these regulations.