RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people stop smoking vape pens as the agency investigates 450 cases of vaping lung illness in 33 states.
While most of the cases are among young people, several federal agencies have said it’s still too early to say what exactly is causing people to get sick. On Monday, 8News spoke with a local vape shop owner who said the reputation of an entire industry is being misunderstood.
“This misinformation, disinformation is causing harm to the public health,” Jay Taylor, local vape shop owner and president of the Virginia Smoke Free Association, said.
On the same day the CDC suggested that people stop vaping all together, the organization that closely regulates vape shops, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, just discouraged buying marijuana infused vape products off the street.
“They’re THC-based, illegal, bought from a drug dealer, cartridges,” Taylor told 8News.
The FDA said that many people who got sick were smoking THC product with Vitamin E Acetate, an ingredient not legally allowed in vape shop products. However, reports show that THC was not present in every case.
Taylor admitted to 8News that sales have dipped but says that’s not his main concern.
“I’m not worried about as much as it impacting businesses,” he said, “as I am it impacting adult smokers who want to make the switch to get away from combustible tobacco that kills 480,000 people alone every year.”
People who reported feeling sick after vaping have experienced several symptoms: shortness of breath, GI issues, weight loss and fevers. The patients were relatively healthy before feeling ill.
Anyone with symptoms who has vaped recently should go to a doctor.