WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Sunshine Vape in Warwick carries about 200 flavors of “juice” for e-cigarettes – devices that turn nicotine into vapor.
But new Food and Drug Administration regulations regarding electronic cigarettes were released Thursday – and owner Darin Tripoli thinks the new rules could force his small shop to close.
“All this is gone. Every small business, every employment opportunity,” he told Eyewitness News on Friday. “They’re gonna be wiped out.”
According to the new regulations, e-cigs can no longer be sold to minors and the manufacturers are now required to get FDA approval, a lengthy and expensive process.
Tripoli said he has 40 or so manufacturers and there is no guarantee the approval goes through.
He said he anticipates only big tobacco companies will be able to afford the process, forcing many of the products he sells to be taken off the shelves.
According to Tripoli, there is a misconception about vaping.
“We’re trying to help people,” he said.
And while he supports regulations like not selling to minors and using child-proof caps, Tripoli said e-cigarettes are for people trying to quit smoking. The FDA’s new regulations lump them into the category of tobacco products.
Tripoli said that if small businesses close and fewer products are on the market after the approval process, people will need to revert back to smoking cigarettes.
“So they say it’s a public health issue, but they’re going to be causing the public health issue,” he said.
The federal ban on selling e-cigs to minors goes into effect in August, but Rhode Island already bans the sale to minors.