Any new product that becomes so popular so fast is more than likely to spark some controversy, but in the case of e-cigarettes the lack of governmental regulations has put the matters in the hands of state legislators that sometimes – fearing for the general health of the public – take the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ approach. With this in mind, we have to announce you that Bloomington has become the first city in Minnesota to ban the use of vaping devices inside public spaces, and the new bill seem to have a direct negative effect on the two recently opened e-smoking shops.
While other vaping bans across the US exempted the already opened vaping shops or lounges from the effects of the bills, in the case of Bloomington it seems this is not the case and the owners now have to find new ways of bringing customers through their doors.
The bill was voted on November 3 2014 and it went into effect on November 27, extending Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes and other vaping gear besides the prohibition on tobacco products. The city’s two vape shops Smokeless Smoking and E-CIG One Stop welcomed the bill with much criticism, as they are now prohibited two offer in-shop e-juice samples to their customers. E-smoking is banned within 25 feet of a shop’s access.
Jennifer Swanson, owner of E-CIG One Stop is very worried that the new bill will affect its business drastically. When she opened the vape shop in 2013, it was the first of its kind in Bloomington and with over 200 e-juice flavors it was an instant success. Besides the juices and vaping gear, E-CIG One Stop also has a free sampling bar where customers could experiment with the different equipment and flavors and find a personal favorite before investing in a kit. Switching to e-cigarettes has helped a lot of ex-smokers quit their habit. Jennifer Swanson and her husband have been trying to quit for many years and didn’t manage to do so until using ecigs.
Just two blocks up E-CIG One Stop is Smokeless Smoking, another vape shop but with a different clientele. The owners have invested around $100,000 in the place that includes a vaping lounge where e-smokers can chat, enjoy a drink and socialize. The lounge has couches, LCDs and games and the whole place needed to expand only months after opening its doors due to the huge number of customers. However, since the ban, Smokeless Smoking is unable to serve its purpose since clients are no longer allowed to puff on their e-cigarette inside the establishment. This has put the owners in a very negative position, as they have started thinking about closing the place down even though the lease is until 2018. Bloomington is the first Smokeless Smoking location where indoor vaping has been banned, the company having four additional vape shops across the state and in California.
E-CIG One Stop owner thinks that without the benefits of free sampling, her customers will ultimately resort to buying their e-liquids and vaping gear online since these vendors can afford much lower prices.