The Cost of
the FDA Ban
The FDA recently announced plans to restrict access to certain vape flavors and to ban menthol cigarettes completely. In 2016, cigarettes and other tobacco products comprised 36% of convenience store sales.
This FDA ban may not only mean a reduction in income but also extra expense to comply with new government regulations.
> The Impact on Vapor Sales
The proposed FDA ban targets all E-cigarette flavors except menthol and traditional tobacco flavors. While vape flavors on the whole won’t be banned, the government will impose regulations that require you to sell these flavors in age-restricted areas of your store. We don’t yet know what “restricted area” means, but FDA Commissioner Dr. Gottlieb has stated that “a curtain won’t cut it,” and neither will placing products under counters.
You may have to construct a whole new section for flavored vape products (other than tobacco, mint, and menthol). This not only means extra material expense for you, but it could potentially mean more staffing needs too. If the FDA requires transactions handled in this area or if your customers just need the extra support, that burden comes down on you as the store owner. We already know how difficult it can be to ensure stress-free ID checks, but now you’ll need to consider how to check IDs prior to entering this restricted area.
> The Impact on Cigarette and Cigar Sales
FDA has its sights set on banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars entirely. If menthol combustibles are a big part of your sales, those will diminish if the FDA has their way. Some sources have estimated the average c-store will lose annual revenues of around $259,000.00 if such a flavor ban passes. How would that affect your business, and what measures would you need to take to make that up in one year per store?
> What You Can Do
These regulations are bound to create a negative consumer experience and negatively impact sales. When one retailer’s business suffers, the entire community feels it. You can take action though. This ruling may be as far as two years away. Sign up for alerts with Own It Voice It, and we’ll help you voice your opposition to the right people at the right time.