Vaping — or use of electronic smoking devices — is allowed inside very few businesses around the state.
One such place is phasing out the practice — mainly because of the explosion in the popularity of esports.
At PC Gamerz — the vapers have moved outside — alongside the few cigarette smokers who frequent the esports business.
PC Gamerz Director of Gaming Devin Wolery explains how vaping was even allowed in the first place.
“If you were selling tobacco or electronic cigarette products, at least 50 percent or more of your sales were tobacco products, then you could vape indoors and it wasn’t an issue.”
Despite risking revenue, Wolery stopped sales of electronic smoking devices and supplies at the beginning of the month.
“With the indoor vaping, during the day we don’t allow vaping inside because of the presence of under-age and children. At night it’s currently allowed, but we’re phasing it out October first, where it will not be allowed at all.”
The growing controversy surrounding vaping and e-cigarettes has caused a clearing of the air — although Wolery put the smoking cessation plan into effect long before national coverage of a growing number of illnesses among teens who vape.
Kyler Tandal, PC Gamerz esports manager, says the sport has exploded and is drawing in younger and younger enthusiasts.
“Before, three or four years ago, you’d see maybe people from 18 to mid-20s, but recently I’ve been seeing that, at our conventions, we’ve been getting people as young as 12, even 10 years old.”
Esports is gaining traction with the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and even has a tab on its website. https://is.gd/HHSAA_eSports
The Moanalua High School esports program is staging team tryouts at the shop — and Wolery just built five new gaming computers for the school.
“Our main business model has been esports and gaming, and (vaping) doesn’t align with that at all, so we want to make sure we’re supporting all of the youth and that’s what our focus is now.”
We also spoke with many businesses who sell e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices.
One told us that permits are available allowing indoor use of e-cigs and the like — but that the shop doesn’t have one.
In fact, most of those we contacted do not allow use of those products in their stores.