Richland vape shop clears shelves as temporary ban goes into effect

Vape shop owners around Washington state are scrambling as a temporary ban on certain products goes into effect. VapeHead Origins in Richland had already cleared its shelves of flavored juices as of Thursday afternoon.

“I’d say about 75 to 80 percent of our sales comes from flavored juice,” said Jacob, one of the employees.

Regular customers of the Richland store will notice a big chance to its juice-tasting “bar” – the shelves featuring everything from “pink punch” to “cookie twist” have been completely emptied.

“Today’s been real slow,” said Jacob.

The ban will last 120 days, according to the Washington State Board of Health, and comes in response to a nationwide outbreak of lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use or vaping.

Last month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced an executive order directing the Washington State Department of Health to adopt emergency rules to ban all flavored vaping products at their next meeting.

Jacob said it’s frustrating because all of the products they sell at VapeHead Origins are regulated by the FDA, and he said the sicknesses are coming from people purchasing un-regulated products.

“We are going to try and stay open and sell coils, devices and other products,” said Jacob. “But at the same time, that’s a big hit for us.”

On Thursday, the CDC reported that the number of confirmed and probable cases linked to vaping is now at 1,299 along with 26 deaths. The specific chemical exposure causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use currently remains unknown, according to the CDC.