Economists sounded the alarm in recent weeks when US president Donald Trump announced plans to enforce tariffs on up to $450 billion worth of Chinese products imported to the US.
The news shook many industries, from manufacturers of thermostats to fertiliser distributors, and the e-cigarette industry hasn’t gone unscathed either.
The US vape industry is a billion dollar economy with 600 manufacturers as well as some 10,000 vape shops, and some of those may now be at risk.
Any supply-chain elements required by the US vape industry in manufacturing e-cigarettes or vape-related products which originate in China will be slapped with a 25 percent surcharge.
The knock-on effect will see increased prices in stock on shelves across thousands of vape shops. That could make the cost of vaping rise for Americans, which in turn could make some smokers less willing to make the switch.
That spells bad news for the thousands of smalltime vape shops in cities, towns and shopping malls across the US. If they buckle under pressure, the roll-on effect could see the return of vacant retail units, which is not a good look for a local or federal economy.
On Tuesday, the US administration unveiled a detailed list of the 279 specific products which will carry the latest round of $16 billion in imposed tariffs.
Since taking office, President Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices, vowing to bring down the US trade deficit in goods with Beijing. Now China has retaliated with a similar tariff in what has become a tit-for-tat trade war.
Could a move that might help solve the US trade deficit turn detrimental to the American vape economy? Time will tell.