Proposed flavor ban could shut down vaping company

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The federal government announced it’s finalizing plans to remove e-cigarette products from the market that have fruit and candy flavor.

President Trump says his administration will push for the ban. Critics call the proposed ban a “knee jerk” reaction.

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The ban could force one Lexington business owner to close shop for good.

“It’s really horrifying. Basically what it means is there’s over 10,000 e-cigarette businesses, manufacturers, and distributors that will be out of business possibly within six weeks,” said Tony Florence, President of Vapors Stockroom.

Tony Florence owns Vapor Stockroom and 723 Vapor in Lexington.

He says if the government goes forward with its proposed ban he would have to shut down his stores in weeks and it would cost about 35 people their jobs.

“I’ve already started laying people off,” said Florence.

Florence believes any problems relating to vaping involves illegal THC cartridges bought off the streets.

“The irony of this is the death of the e-cigarette industry is going to come from something it had nothing associated with it. It’s going to be THC cartridges,” said Florence.

One of Florence’s employees, Austin Mansfield has been with the company since it started in 2014.

Mansfield says he’s not sure what he will do if the store is forced to close.

“I just purchased a home. I have more than me to take care of. I have a family to take care of so it would be extremely detrimental to my life,” said Austin Mansfield, Employee.

According to the Health and Human Services secretary, the Food and Drug Administration will develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors.

The FDA regulates e-cigarettes and can ban the flavors, but hasn’t because it is still studying it to see if it helps adult smokers quit traditional cigarettes.

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Alexus Larson joined the ABC36 news team as a multi-media journalist in December 2018. She is from a suburb outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and most recently comes from Minot, North Dakota where she reported and graduated from Minot State University with a degree in broadcasting. Alexus and her husband are excited to be in Lexington and out of the cold! When she’s not reporting, she loves to explore new places, be with friends and family, and watch or attend sports – especially if it’s a Minnesota team! You can see Alexus reporting during the week and the weekends. If you have any story ideas, you can contact her by email alarson@wtvq.com, or you can find her on Facebook at Alexus Larson ABC36, or on Twitter at @AlexusLarsonTV. She looks forwarding to hearing from you!