Up in smoke: Policy change impacts vapor shops in Northern Colorado
A policy change regarding the use of e-cigarettes has dealt a crushing blow to local vapor shops that have opened in the area.
Smokeless CG Vapors, located on Eighth Street, originally started as a lounge where people could test out flavors for e-cigarettes and vape pens. After a recent policy change, the shop has lost their license to be an open testing bar.
“After the ban, a lot of people thought we had been closed down,” said Matt Hastings, manager of CG Vapors. “Many people think we aren’t even here anymore. On top of that, we’re stuck in a lease we can’t get out of.”
E-cigarettes have been classified as normal cigarettes, preventing users from using them in public places and indoors.
“E-cigarettes have been banned in public places and indoors, just like normal cigarettes,” said Sandi Elder, a Greeley city council member. “However, that does not mean they have been banned completely in Greeley.”
But Hastings said the policy has affected his business.
“When we first started building, we had been approved to be an open testing bar,” Hastings said. “Three weeks in with only four hours notice, we were notified that they had decided to ban electronic cigarettes after the vote on Jan. 20.”
CG Vapors opened in Greeley as an expansion from their original store located in Loveland. The store’s goal was to aid people who are trying to quit smoking by having them try the variety of flavors offered with e-cigarettes.
“Unlike normal cigarettes, e-cigarette oil has no additional chemicals with the nicotine except for VG, vegetable glycerin, and PG, propylene glycol,” Hastings said.
He said that both are non-toxic to humans and are used as a suspension in the oil. They also carry flavor well. CG Vapors also makes their own oils, so Hastings said the contents of the product are not a secret.
Oils have a variety of nicotine levels ranging from 24, the highest level, to 0 which contains no nicotine.
“E-cigarettes helped me quit smoking,” Hastings said. “When you’re smoking straight nicotine without all the extra chemicals in cigarettes, it wasn’t that hard to go from a 16 to a 0. It’s also saved me about $13,000 a year.”
With the growing popularity of e-cigarettes came the immense decrease in big tobacco industry sales.
“Obviously smoking anything is bad for you, but they’re a lot less harmful for you and the people around you, especially since there’s no secondhand smoke,” said Daulton Dye, a junior industrial chemistry major, about e-cigarettes. “I don’t understand why they have been banned in public places.”
Many people who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking traditional cigarettes believe that the vapors are less distracting to the people around them.
“E-cigarettes have been banned in public places since, like normal cigarettes, people do not want to smell or ingest the secondhand vapor,” Elder said. “It is not just because the nicotine and oils aren’t regulated. We also received thousands of pages of research from multiple sources which showed that e-cigarettes do contain large amounts of nicotine.”
E-cigarettes are still a fairly new introduction to the public, and studies continue to be executed to explore the effects of vapor smoke, particularly, the effects of secondhand vapor smoke.
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