SPOKANE, Wash. — Vape shops in Washington state are now allowed to sell flavored vaping products as of Saturday.
The shops have struggled to stay afloat the past four months as part of a state wide flavored vaping ban. The ban took some of their best-selling flavors off the shelves.
Spokane shop Sublime Vapor was forced to close two of their locations and lay off numerous employees. General manager Joey Blodgett says he's been dealing with outraged customers every day since the flavor ban took effect.
According to Blodgett, some people that used vapes have returned to traditional tobacco, often in the form of cigarettes. One of the main differences between cigarettes and vaping products is the chemical ingredients, with many opting for vaping products as a way to kick their smoking habits.
With the flavor ban having ended, vape enthusiasts will be able to purchase their favorite flavors once again.
The initial ban came after numerous vaping related illnesses arose throughout the country that resulted in respiratory issues and even deaths. As for Washington, there have been 25 cases of vaping associated lung injury, according to the Department of Health.
However, that number is rather low compared to states such as Illinois and Texas that had more than 200 cases each, per the Center for Disease Control.
As flavors hit the shelves, customers and businesses will be happy. However, with the legislation session regarding vape flavors not set to reach resolution until march, consumers and businesses alike are in somewhat of a limbo, as they don't know how long they will be able to have access to their flavors.