Vape shop owners say harsh regulations could put them out of business

Vape shop owners say harsh regulations could put them out of business

For six years, Vape Daddy's has thrived selling vaping products primarily to tobacco smokers looking to quit.

"We went into this business because I lost my father in law to lung cancer and I lost my grandfather to emphysema," said David Bershad.

The question for Bershad now is whether he might lose his business. He recently learned the proposed state budget includes a 75% excise tax on the wholesale price of e-cigarette delivery systems.

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"Let's say I buy a device for $10 wholesale and I might normally sell it for $20. Now that device... same device... will cost $17," said Bershad.

The tax would hit all vaping retailers, but shops like Vape Daddy's says they would suffer the most because they have no non-vaping merchandise to curb the blow.

And the tax is not the only punitive measure in the budget to target the vaping industry. Another amendment calls for a statewide ban on vape flavors.

"We know that up to 25% of our youth self-report using flavored vapes," said Rep. Danielle Gregoire.

"Things like mango and cotton candy are really addicting these kids And these are kids that would never have smoked a regular cigarette are starting on e-cigarettes," said Allyson Perron Drag, American Heart Association.

One pediatrician says it doesn't take much to get them hooked.

"I treat kids for nicotine addiction and I have a very hard time. I've had some successes but also some real challenges," said Jonathan Winickoff, MC, MPH, Mass. General Hospital.

But Bershad says stores like his are being unfairly lumped in with places young people can buy vaping products.

"If you're not 21 years of age you cannot come in the store," he said.

His bigger worry is if the tax proposal goes through, will there even be a store?

"You put a 75% tax on these products on a wholesale basis well what's 75% of nothing? They're going to lose their sales tax and their excise tax because I think most of the vape stores are going to close," said Bershad.