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Uncle Ike’s owner: Vape flavor ban ‘more political than policy’

Despite little evidence tying legal e-vaping and e-cigarette devices to the illnesses we’ve seen across the country, Governor Jay Inslee declared last week that he’s going move to ban all such flavored products. Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss Vape Gate, and why the move could end up hurting teenagers.

“I think it’s good that he did something, but I think it was more political than actual policy at this point, especially towards the cannabis state. Right now it’s a ban on flavors. But until rule-making happens, we don’t know what a flavor even means,” he said.

“I think it should mean artificial flavors not in cannabis,” he continued. “There’s what’s called therapies, which are basically flavors and they could be derived from the cannabis plant themselves or from other botanicals, like you can get orange flavor from a cannabis plant that makes lemon or orange.”

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Of particular concern is how Inslee’s push disregards the distinction between the safer products being sold at places like Uncle Ike’s, and those on the unregulated black market that are causing more harm.

“He emphasized that cannabis vaping products have to disclose what kind of cutting agents are being used, and I think what we’ve seen around the country is that a lot of illicit market cannabis vape producers are using cutting agents to dilute their product that contains something called Vitamin E acetate, and that’s been sort of a common denominator in a lot of the illnesses,” he said.

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“At Uncle Ike’s, we tested every single vendor that we carry and all of them came back completely free of vitamin E acetate. So I don’t think that problem exists in the legal market; in the black market it probably does. But I think it’s good that people have to disclose what they’re putting in the cartridges.”

How the flavored vaping ban could hurt teenagers

He also worries about how this will impact the younger demographic.

“We’ve seen cannabis use among teens go down in the state after legalization, because it’s harder to get your hands on it now because you have to be 21 to come into a store, and your local dealer doesn’t care what your age is,” he said.

“I’ll be honest, I have an 18 year-old kid who vapes and his friends vape nicotine, and if it’s harder to get vapes, he’ll move to cigarettes. We have a whole generation that’s grown up never buying a pack of cigarettes, and vaping. Then what happens? They moved to cigarettes. That’s a terrible unintended consequence.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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