ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Thousands of vape shops have popped up across the country in the past few years. It's a booming industry that's been known as the Wild West for years and growing without a lot of government oversight.
Now the Food and Drug Administration is cracking down.
The FDA announced it will start regulating e-cigarettes, hookah, and cigars the same way it does traditional tobacco products. But a business man we talked to said it's just a money grab.
Public health officials are pushing for the move, saying that e-cigarettes are a big unknown and present many of the same dangers as cigarettes.
"Even though they're not marketed as a typical tobacco product, as of yet, but they still contain some of the same chemicals and the same products that tobacco and regular cigarettes have in them, like nicotine," Ebonee Kirkwood with Southwest Georgia Public Health said.
Michael Summerlin at Summerlin Vitamins and the Vapor Corner disagrees. He smoked cigarettes for 20 years, and tried several methods to help him quit. It wasn't until he tried e-cigarettes that he was finally able to ditch cigarettes.
He aims to do the same for others at his vape shop which recently celebrated it's 10,000th customer to successfully quit cigarettes. "This is not a thing to get kids on or off cigarettes, period," Summerlin said. "This is about helping adults quit smoking."
Summerlin says the FDA has other intentions with the new regulations. "It's definitely not a health issue, the FDA don't care about your health, the FDA don't care about your health, it's all about the money."
He says new application processes for vaping products will be costly and impractical, and many shops won't be able to keep their doors open.
"We don't sell a million dollars of this stuff, just for one flavor, a million dollars?" Summerlin asked, referring to his wide selection of e-juices.
Summerlin says this move by the FDA is too late for a booming vaping industry.
"I think it's done got too big for them to put these kind of regulations on it," he said. "You got just all kind of people that are going to be involved, and making sure that these regulations don't stick."