VAPE SHOPS IN FLORIDA | BY JOE VAGAS | August 30, 2018 | A lot of businesses are trying their best to make vape shopping in Florida more affordable, while others are trying something new to boost the number of people coming in for a vape.
The Florida Liquor Control Commission’s Vapor Center of Excellence (VCOE) says it’s working on a new initiative to help businesses find the right customers for the best value.
The initiative, which is in the works for the next few months, will focus on educating people on how to find the best vape at the lowest cost, said Sharon Bohn, VCOE’s executive director.
That’s the goal, said Bohn.
“The idea is to make sure the people who come in know exactly what they’re getting and what’s going to be best for them.”
The initiative is being piloted by the Florida Vapor Retailers Association (FVRA), which has been organizing the initiative with the help of its membership.
It’s also working with local businesses and with the Florida Department of Health to expand the program to all locations in the state, said Lisa Smith, a VRA executive director who was not involved in the development of the initiative.
VRA, a trade association of vape shops, operates more than 4,300 stores nationwide.
Bohn said that as the number and diversity of vape stores grows, the number will likely continue to grow, too.
For example, Florida has more than 20 vape shops now, according to the FVRA, and she said that more will soon open.
The commission’s goal is to be able to educate consumers about the benefits of using a vaporizer, but there is no one single method to get started, Smith said.
The group is hoping to reach as many consumers as possible about the vape industry through outreach, education and community outreach.
The goal is that people will be able understand how vape shops work, she said.
Vape stores are now the most popular place to buy vape products in the U.S., according to a 2016 study from the consumer advocacy group Food and Water Watch.
A study by the non-profit Food Safety News found that in 2015, 2.9 million people used a vapor device.
That number grew to 4.7 million in 2018, Food Safety reported.
Vaping products were also the most prevalent in vape shops during the 2016-2017 holiday season, Food Security reported.
Sales were down on the previous year because people were taking more time to vape, Food and Health Watch reported.
The FDA has been cracking down on vaping products, which include flavored e-cigarettes, vaping pens, atomizers and e-liquids.
A Florida law, passed in 2017, requires vape shops to post signs at the door stating that they are vaping products and provide a customer service representative.
“It’s a simple matter of doing business,” said Bongos, of the VRA.
“Vape shops are like any other business, but they’re more valuable to the community because they have a higher impact on our health and the environment.”
Vaping is considered to be a healthier alternative to cigarettes because the nicotine in vapor is lower in amount, Bohn noted.
BECOMING A VAPE DEALER The goal of the VCOE is to increase the number at the front desk of a vape shop to 20 percent by 2018, Smith explained.
There is also a focus on building trust and awareness around vaping, Smith added.
“You’re not just dealing with cigarettes, you’re dealing with vaping, so you want to make it a really positive experience for the customer,” Smith said of getting a customer to come in.
She added that the VCoe’s mission is to “make sure the industry understands that it’s still a safe, safe alternative to smoking.”
the VCOE wants vape shops that are not on the list of 100 percent smoke-free to post a sign that says, “Smoke Free Cigarettes and Nicotine Replacement Products are not allowed in our vape shop.”
This is especially important for larger businesses, Smith continued.
“A lot of small vape shops are very, very small,” Smith added, noting that there is a growing demand for smaller vape shops.
She also wants to increase education about vaping and to work with local communities to educate them about the advantages of vaping.
For the VCPOE, it’s also important to work within the laws.
Bongons said the group is looking at a number of different measures to educate customers on vaping and the benefits, but one of the most important is the VCVOE’s online education program.
“We’ve got an online course, and we’re working with our local vape shops,” she said, noting the VVOE is partnering with schools and universities to make online learning more accessible.
“This is something that’s really important for the communities we serve, because the community needs to have a voice