Jason Malartsik says his company Totally Wicked in Bradenton is on the clock.
"It's going to be devastating," said Malartsik. "August 18th 2018, our intention right now is that we're going to be out of business."
Malartsik says the 4 billion dollar a year e-cigarette industry as a whole could be in the same boat. New proposed regulations by the FDA would require extensive testing and certification that he says will likely remove nearly 90 percent of the products currently on the market. The FDA wants e-cigarette companies like Totally Wicked to be regulated like traditional tobacco companies.
"Everything that's classified a tobacco product has to be tested, so you have liquids, you have e-cig kits, you have tanks, you have atomizers, you have batteries," said Malartsik.
But Malartsik says he supports the testing, just not the price tag that comes along with it.
"The testing they're asking us to do, at FDA's estimate, is $300,000 per item, I just said we have 3000 items," said Malartsik.
A cost he says very few if any companies can afford. The rules will also require any products on the market after February 2007 to be removed from shelves until approved.
Malartsik employs 50 people and says jobs losses across the country could be catastrophic
"It's tens of thousands of people, that's not a fictitious number," said Malartsik.
But with more than 9 million people now using e cigarettes in the US, the American Heart association says the strict regulations are needed, telling us in a statement.
"It is important for the FDA to regulate the e-cigarette industry to ensure that these products adhere to certain standards of safety and do not cause undue harm. Such regulation is particularly necessary to ensure that e-juices do not contain contaminants and adulterations, that any claims about their health effects are supported by data."