Vape shops in Lancaster Co. struggling because of tax

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MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Stores that sell e-cigarette and vapor products were hit hard after a tax was passed in October as part of the state's budget.

State legislators imposed a 40 percent wholesale tax on e-cigarette products. In addition to that tax, the stores selling those products also had to pay a 40 percent floor tax on their existing inventory.

Now, some vape stores in Lancaster County are closing, and others are concerned they will go out of business.

Lancaster Steamworks on Crown Avenue in Manheim Township closed in September. Flavr Vapor Lounge on Roseville Road in Manheim Township closed its doors in December.

Owners of Vapor Café, Kerry and Raymond Medina, in Ephrata don't want their store to be next.

Kerry Medina said, "I know what I've put into this, and I feel devastated for these people because we're losing soldiers in the fight to get people off cigarettes."

It's only been three months since the tax was imposed, and businesses are already suffering.

Raymond Medina said, "It's very sad. We were once the shop you could go to and pretty much get whatever you might have been looking for...but now I'm ordering smarter and getting things in that I know is going to sell right away."

Now vape customers are looking for products elsewhere.

Raymond Medina said, "People coming in and telling us they're driving from somewhere else because their local shop has closed down."

Kerry Medina has another full-time job to help keep the business open, and Raymond works full time at Vapor Café.

"This is my life now, so I'm going to do whatever it takes to keep going," Raymond said.

Both owners said they aren't giving up on their store.

Kerry said, "It's horrible because it could be us."

A rally will be held at the state capitol on Monday, January 23 from 10 - 11:30 a.m.

For more information on the rally, click here.