SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Millions of Californians each year look for ways to quit smoking, and in 2018, James Hall was one of those people.“When I saw my youngest daughter pick up a cigarette butt and put it up to her lips, that’s when I made the final call to quit cigarettes,” Hall said.
Along with his daughter, Hall attributes vaping as a big reason he no longer smokes cigarettes — and part of the reason he has worked in the vaping industry, helping others kick the habit.
“I really enjoyed finding customers that come in and wanting to quit. So talking with them, filling in all the blanks they have, as well as questions and having a good experience for them.”
Hall is now a former manager at the recently closed Vape Sanctum in Sacramento. The county in late July banned the sale of flavored tobacco, which makes up nearly 50% of sales for many vape stores, including Vape Sanctum, making it untenable for the mom-and-pop store to stay in business.
“The banning of disposables and flavored nicotine, it completely crushed us,” Hall said.
The California Health Department reports close to 60% of people who smoke, smoke flavored tobacco. It’s closer to 80% when you look at people who vape. The department also said flavored tobacco appeals to children, posing a public health risk.
Hall said the closing is a little more bittersweet considering less than a mile up the road a new vape store opened earlier in the year, and because it’s outside county lines, it can sell flavored tobacco.
“If I actually owned a shop and had to close my store, but a location across the road didn’t have to because they fell under different county lines, would I be a little upset? Yes. But location, location, location.”
Come November, though, the location may not be a savior as Californians will head to the polls and vote whether to enact Proposition 31, a statewide ban on flavored tobacco.
Jim Knox, with the American Cancer Society Action Network, has been campaigning for the statewide ban for years. He said it’s sorely needed as it will save countless lives.
“The CDC now says we have a youth vaping epidemic in this country. We’ve got 2 million youths using these products. So it’s absolutely essential if we want to avoid a whole new generation of kids becoming addicted to nicotine that we remove flavored tobacco products from the shelves."
Hall said he agrees with tighter regulations.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with saying yes to... regulations of all-age locations not having vape products.”