Vaping’s popularity sparks talk of regulation

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John Kreis is worried that his business could go up in a puff of smoke.

Kreis, the co-owner of the Old Port Vape shop in Portland, said efforts to regulate vaporizers or electronic cigarettes could cripple the industry, which is now dominated by small nicotine liquid manufacturers and shops like his.

Kreis said vapes, as the devices are known, are an innovative way to either allow people to continue to smoke and get nicotine into their systems, or as a way for smokers to wean themselves off traditional cigarettes. He said vapes allow smokers to do both while eliminating the tar and other harmful chemicals in traditional tobacco cigarettes.

But the devices are controversial, drawing criticism from people worried that they appeal to kids and could induce conventional smoking, and that no agency regulates the vapes’ flavored liquids, leading to speculation that they could contain harmful ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration is weighing whether to regulate vapes while the Federal Trade Commission is likely to examine how the devices are marketed. Until last week, the state of Maine was considering taxing them as tobacco products.

But to Kreis, the devices’ growing popularity is helping people break decades-long smoking habits.

“It’s really turned into quite a big movement,” said Kreis, who opened his store on Market Street in June 2014. “I couldn’t count how many people have come into my shop in Portland who said they haven’t gone a day without a cigarette in 20 years and then they come in two weeks later and said, ‘I haven’t had a cigarette since.’ This is the miracle that smokers have been looking for.”

source: pressherald