The owner of Centralia’s Vape D Lish, Allen Kettle, had a large inventory of products last week made up primarily of flavored e-liquid. 

This week, those shelves are empty. 

On Oct. 10, the Washington State Board of Health responded to the lung injuries associated with vaping by placing a 120-day ban on flavored vaping products in the state. 

The decision puts Kettle’s business — and others in Lewis County and around the state — in a precarious position.

An employee at Vape D Lish, Sabrina Ayers, expressed her concerns for her future at the business located on East High Street in Centralia. 

“We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to stay open, and then I might be out of the job,” she said.

Kettle said his shop was making about $2,500 a day before the ban and now it’s making less than $100 a day. Vape D Lish also has a location in Longview.

He said he cares about his four employees, but he can’t meet his payroll requirements unless he makes at least $400 a day. He told The Chronicle this week his profits are down 94.48 percent since the ban. 

“I’m going to do everything I can not to close,’’ Kettle said. “I try not to cry out loud in front of people. … It’s one of those things that, I put everything I have into this, I took out a second (mortgage) on my house for this. If this fails, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Kettle said. 

Kettle said he is trying to keep his shop afloat by bringing in more non-flavored and tobacco-flavored e-liquids and non-vapable CBD products. 

“People who use vaping products to quit smoking cigarettes don’t want to vape the tobacco flavors because it reminds them of cigarettes,” Kettle said, adding that he hasn’t sold much of those products. 

Though the flavored vape liquids are not available to purchase legally, Kettle said he’s concerned a black market will emerge for homemade products. 

“I’ve been a vape juice manufacturer since 2016 and since then I’ve had to register my company with the FDA and send them a list of all of my ingredients,” he said. “I know of two teenagers in Centralia that are already (since the ban) making vape juice in their kitchen and posting on Snapchat to sell it.”

While officials have said the ban on flavored vaping products is about keeping people safe, Kettle said feels it is actually doing the opposite. 

Jay Fratt, the owner of Smokin’ J’s on Main St. in Centralia, expressed his opinion on the ban in Washington as well.  

“This ‘Vape Ban’ is a horrendous policy decision made by the people that are supposed to take public health very seriously,” he said. “The Governor called for the Board of Health meeting under the guise of vape-related illness, but during the meeting, the Board of Health switched the impetuous to flavorings and ‘saving the children.’”

On an episode of his podcast, ‘The Conservative Hippie,’ Fratt said he is in favor of strict age regulations on vaping products and does not want people who are not trying to quit smoking cigarettes to touch nicotine.

“When people come into my shop and I ask them if they’re smokers and they say, ‘No,’ I say ‘Well why would (vape)? Don’t even touch this,’ ” he said on his podcast. 

Fratt said he believes the ban to be unreasonable, noting that the products associated with vaping-related illnesses were cannabis-related projects containing THC.  

“The e-juice industry had been around for a decade without incident,” he said. “Now people are going to be making (flavored vape juice) themselves or ordering it from outside of the community from sources without concern for quality (or) repercussions from the community.”

Fratt forecasted a dire future for vape shops in Washington State in the next few months of the flavored vape ban. 

“Many small businesses will now close due to this decision,” he said.

Recommended for you

(9) comments

YourNeighbor

Come on, Allen. You knew. You knew the risk of relying on one product line for 94% of your profits. But, how do you know the stuff you sold wasn’t killing people? Clearly, some of it is. People are dying from the stuff. And, if you can’t show what you sell is safe, why do you want to sell it?


Theotherneighbor

No people are dying from black market thc carts. How about you get your facts right before you go spouting off like you actually know something. Your just another ill informed brainwashed sheep. #wevapewevote


wa7uhr

Dad told me not to put all your eggs into one basket.


Nevyn

Allen knows the stuff he was selling isn't killing people because he knows what all the ingredients are, and that they're safe for consumption. There are NO confirmed links of vapor related lung injury to commercial vapor products. I defy any commentor to provide a scientific source.







The vapor related injuries and deaths have already been confirmed to be caused by black market cannabis loads.







The only thing this ban will do is drive people back to cigarettes or black market sources; both of which carry dramatically increased health risks. And it will destroy most of the brick and mortar stores.







Lewis County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood said, “We still don’t know what it is that’s causing all of this,” she said, in reference to the recent deaths and illnesses.







But vaping looks like smoking, and smoking is bad. So let's ban it. Typical liberal inneptitude born of ignorance.







Why is there no public outrage about the myriad of cigarettes on the market? The CDC reports 480,000 smoking related deaths annually. That's not worthy of attention, but 26 deaths of an unclear cause a nationwide panic and a ban on an unrelated source?


Cinebarbarian

Why no public outrage? Because so long as it does not kill someone you know, people are willing to look the other way. Remember voting to make pot legal? To the public, getting high was worth the lives it has and will continue to cost in highway deaths and addictions.


Honestly5

Why should the public be concerned with a business owner that has no concern for their customer? Vaping products provide no benefit for the consumer. It is expensive and habit forming. The excuse that it helps the consumer not smoke is illegitimate, in my opinion. Shouldn't consumers quit tobacco/nicotine in general? Replacing one bad habit with another bad habit is of no benefit. Pot used to be illegal with the justification that it provided no benefit to the user. Some benefits of marijuana was proven for some users, so it was legalized. Nicotine offers no benefit, so why should it be legal.







On a side note. What has happened to our state since marijuana became legal? Has homelessness risen? Are the poor poorer? Are individuals using marijuana now that it's legal, even though when it was illegal they had no purpose to use marijuana? Does buying pot prevent low-income people from saving money or buying respectable clothing that could get them a better paying job?


earl98588

you're reasoning and thought process could be used to take alot away then all candy and all soda and coffee not mention how about starting to actually ban foods such a cereals that have bad chemicals in them such as lucky charms


jeremiad

Vaping products provide no benefit for the consumer.



Soda pop has no benefit for the consumer.



Chewing gum has no benefit for the consumer.



Ice cream, no benefit to the consumer.



Cookies, no benefit to the consumer.



Television, no benefit to the consumer.



Smartphone, no benefit to the consumer.



Public schools, no benefit to the consumer.


Nevyn

The statement that "Vaping products provide no benefit for the consumer", is a false premise. So are the following opinions about vaping.

I chose to try vaping, not as a cessation method, but as a replacement to smoking. It is effective as both, and more effective than traditional "FDA approved" options. Patches or gum may work in the short term, but the recidivism rates are high over 2 years, and increase to near 95% over 5 years. And the psychological side-effects of Chantix were too severe for me to even consider.

"It is expensive and habit forming." Even at half a pack a day, it's far less expensive than smoking, and smokers were already addicted to nicotine. "Shouldn't consumers quit tobacco/nicotine in general?" That's my choice. Not yours, not the state's. Nicotine isn't the problem with vaping products, any more than caffeine is a problem with coffee products. They both have similar qualities neurologically. Nicotine can increase mental acuity, and for those pre-disposed, help alleviate symptoms of depression. Claiming it has no benefit is simply ignorance. Comparing it to marijuana is false equivalence.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.