CHICO, Calif. – By the end of the week, smoke and vape shops across California will have their shelves cleared off of all flavored tobacco products, and some businesses are already feeling the impact.
The vote on banning flavored tobacco products goes into effect on Wednesday, and smoke and vape shop employees told Action News Now they are uneasy about what could follow.
“I mean the lack of funds coming into this shop– this is a family shop. I know that my job isn’t really solid anymore because it based on how much we make here is how much I’m allowed to work,” said Elijah Duffy, an employee at The Dungeon smoke shop.
Some shops have even closed for good, like Netvapes in Chico. The company announced on its website that all its California locations would close. While it may stop minors from getting these flavored products, some people think this ban won’t stop people from buying them.
“People will find a way around it. It’s just kinda making things more difficult and taking money out of small businesses like us,” said Duffy.
Some people had different views, saying that banning is a good step to deter youths from the tobacco industry.
“I believe that banning flavored tobacco is a great way to prevent younger adults from being addicted to nicotine,” said Cody Bowles. “I hope one day we take a greater stance against the tobacco industry.
Several smoke shop customers and employees found the ban unreasonable for adults.
“Prohibition doesn’t work. It’s been proven historically, it doesn’t work with alcohol. I don’t think it’s gonna work here, I know it’s not like a federal thing. And like I said, ya know if we’re taking away this– when are we gonna take away flavored alcohol? When are we gonna take away wine coolers?” said Duffy. “If it’s just about the flavors, I get 40-year-olds who come in, and they love the gummy bear flavor. Who doesn’t love gummy bears?”
The manager of The Dungeon told Action News Now they are discounting the last of their flavored products these last few days to sell most of them. Whatever’s left will get sent back to the manufacturers.