LEAVENWORTH, KS (KCTV) – Men and women serving in the U.S. Military will have to leave the base to buy e-cigarettes. The Pentagon has halted the sale of vaping supplies at base exchanges.
It’s not rare for employees at Flatland Vapes in Leavenworth to see a lot of men and women in army fatigue. That’s because literally across the street is army base Fort Leavenworth.
“Normally, whenever I’m getting a vape or anything related to a vape, I usually come to Flatlands. There is not really any other place I go to,” Brandon Wilson, who is in the army, said.
Wilson says he makes the trip off base often to purchase products for himself and his wife.
“She smokes cigarettes quite often, but she doesn’t want to smoke cigarettes anymore so she’s using vape to kind of like wean herself off of cigarettes,” Wilson said.
But places off base like Flatland Vapes are now the only options for service-members. On October 1, exchanges on army, air force, navy, and coast guard bases across the nation have banned all sales of e-cigarettes.
“I’m not really surprised, I know that most bases are trying to get towards smoke free all together, so anytime something happens like vapes on the news, I’m not surprised that the army or military takes steps like that,” Wilson said.
Despite the change possibly bringing more business to Flatland Vapes, the owner isn’t happy with the military restriction.
“It should be left as far as they are a legal product, they are regulated by the FDA if they had some illnesses related to commercial products, I could see it but we don’t have anything related to commercial sold products right now,” Eric McPherson, the owner of Flatland Vapes, said.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, days after the ban, the U.S. Army treated two active duty soldiers in its medical facility for a vaping related lung illness.
The army is the first branch of the U.S. Military to report cases of an ailment that’s been linked to at least 23 deaths in the U.S.
The illness has affected more than 1,000 people nationwide, and in the majority of cases, the vaping products contained THC.