SALEM, N.H. (CBS) – At Smoker Choice in Salem, New Hampshire, Massachusetts vapers are becoming regulars, including a customer from Woburn determined not to turn back to cigarettes.
“I’d find a way. I smoked for 15 years, but I started vaping and never went back,” said the man, who did not want to be identified.
He found a way, buying enough liquid to last at least a week since Massachusetts now has a four-month ban on vaping products. But he thinks the ban is an exercise in futility. “Just a lot of miles on my car and gas.”
Store manager Ali Shaikh said customers have been coming from border communities and beyond, enough to boost his sales at least 30 percent. “The first weekend the ban was imposed was extremely busy. It felt like the day before Christmas with everyone shopping at the last minute,” said Shaikh.
Lineage Vapors in Derry, New Hampshire, is also trying to meet the demand of Massachusetts customers, but the owner has mixed feelings about the vape rush over the border.
“People are going to want their product, which hikes up sales for us. But it’s bad for guys really hurting in Massachusetts,” said store manager Billy White.
Shop owners say their customers from Massachusetts tend to be older and they’re buying in bulk to avoid making too many trips.
“I was shocked I had to reorder that much with people buying boxes on top of boxes,” said Shaikh.
New Hampshire stores are used to seeing their share of Massachusetts customers looking to escape the sales tax. But Salem, New Hampshire State Representative Fred Doucette (R) had this message for Governor Baker: “I again say thanks to Governor Baker. What he did was take away people’s personal liberties and take away a choice, for starters.”
There are enough Massachusetts plates in the parking lots to show vaping customers are making a choice, and that choice is to head to the border.