Not so much 'black' as 'bleak' Friday took place in Bloomington, Indiana. As the citywide ban on vaping came into force it created a bizarre situation in vape shops.
The orders eliminating the use of e-cigs in all buildings accessible to the general public meant that two stores in the city had to ask all customers to refrain from using their mods & attys. Not just this, but ecig shop owners also had to deny customers from sampling juices.
E-CIG One Stop Vape Shop opened in 2013 when the owner quit smoking and three close friends died of cigarette-related diseases. It grew rapidly and currently offers in excess of 180 different liquid flavours. But, despite the juice not containing any tobacco or producing toxic smoke, they are no longer allowed to let customers try before they buy.
“It’s definitely going to hurt us,” said owner Jennifer Swanson.
As is the model many vape shops in the UK are gearing up to follow, E-CIG One Stop Vape Shop contained a bar/lounge area for customers to test liquids or sit and have a chat while they vape. The new legislation means that customers will now have to do any puffing 25 feet away from the shop entrance - or in the car park!
The Smokeless Smoking store is facing the same problems. Their $100,000 investment in a lounge area (replete with television, settees and games) will now go unused.
Jennifer fears that having to stand in the cold will drive customers away to other cities or online. With three years left on the leasehold the store faces the very real prospect of having to shut up shop.
“We didn’t think they’d take sampling away from us,” she said.
Angie Griffith, manager of Smokeless Smoking, thinks separate regulations for the use of e-cigarettes need to be drafted rather than mirroring the regulations in place for traditional cigarettes.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the LGBT community are throwing their weight into supporting vaping.
The rates of smoking in the States has been stuck around 20% of the population for almost ten years - but the rates of smoking in the LGBT community runs at approximately double that.
According to a recent study by the Affirmations Community Center and the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, gay and lesbian men and women are far less receptive to anti-smoking campaigns as well as being twice as likely to smoke.
The Washington Blade claims, “For these hard-to-reach smokers who struggle to quit, e-cigarette technology offers an alternative form of nicotine consumption.” They go on to add, “When cessation campaigns fail to make a meaningful impact on the number of smokers, exploring alternative methods - like e-cigarette technology - becomes all the more urgent.”