Thomas McCool, who opened New Element Fine Vapors on Richmond three months ago, says he’s a fan of regulations as long as they’re fair. Some mom and pop shops will mix blends with up to 36 milligrams of nicotine, which is a lot even for serious smokers, and he just doesn’t see the point in that. A regular pack of cigarettes will average eight to 20 milligrams of nicotine — New Element Fine Vapors and the Vapor Lair only sell up to 18 milligrams per bottle of juice.
Vapers who know what they’re doing will go to the right people for the right products, but if big tobacco takes over the industry, McCool says, that could destroy small juice blenders and local vaporizer builders.
“Right now DIY is a mom and pop thing,” he says. “We let people modify their devices, their formulas. For [Big Tobacco], I feel like it would just be more economical. I would foresee them producing a starter, intermediate and an advanced product, and that would be that.”
McCool says if FDA regulations open the door for a sin tax, he might have to set prices on his products that bring them closer to what cigarettes cost now, and that could deter smokers from making the transition. His store may not stay afloat.
The Vape Summit, the nation’s largest e-cig and vaporizer trade show, is coming to Houston on November 7. Local vendors will show off their latest innovations and flavors, and speakers are expected to educate the masses on what the FDA regulations could really mean for consumers and businesses.
“Regulating nicotine, making sure that people are using approved ingredients and stuff, I think it’s important,” McCool says. “But then again it needs to be fair. This is a new market and we don’t want it taken over by Big Tobacco.”