For 30 years, I smoked cigarettes. But, I was finally able to quit when I switched to vaping. Since then, I have been 100% tobacco-free and it has changed my life. Vaping also made me a small business owner. In 2013, my wife and I opened Vape On! LLC to help people, like myself, make the choice to quit smoking.
I have had the opportunity to witness countless success stories of people who walk through our door and never pick up another cigarette again because of vaping. But I keep seeing story after story of how teens are vaping, which worries me as a parent and an owner of a vape shop. We have strict underage policies, and card all of our customers that look to be under 27 years old to make sure they’re over 19 years old. Vaping has had an incredible impact on many of my customers’ lives, but we need to make sure these devices are only going to adults.
Now, there is legislation to fill the loopholes in how we currently advertise and sell e-cigarettes, vape pens, and e-liquids, called the Cole-Bishop Amendment. This legislation will restrict advertising to magazines and newspapers that only adults read, put labels on vapor devices that say “Keep Out Of Reach Of Children” and “Underage Sale Prohibited,” prohibit vending machines, and require face-to-face sales which would ban kiosks and other self-service displays that are often easily accessible to minors.
The proposed legislation will also help create greater transparency and clarity across the industry, through instructing the FDA to create product standards for all components of a vapor device, including clear standards for vapor product batteries.
To me, this is plain and simple. We need common-sense regulations that will protect consumers and children, while also helping the vaping industry make better, safer products.
As a parent and a vape shop owner who employs Alabamians helping Alabamians, I hope Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Doug Jones will support the bi-partisan Cole-Bishop Amendment that promotes smart and responsible regulation that will allow Alabama businesses to grow and will protect Alabama consumers.
Tod Yarbrough owns Vape On! LLC in Madison, Ala. Their mission is to help people who smoke to quit, today and forever through the use of electronic cigarettes. He and his wife Tammy reside in Madison.