Trump administration considers ban on e-cigarettes, however, small business owners believe it's online and street sales causing health problems
The Trump administration announced they will consider a ban on flavored e-cigarettes following an outbreak of vaping related deaths that left at least 6 people dead. But owners of Vapor Express says before a ban is implemented more research needs to be done into whether people who became ill or died, were vaping knock off products they bought online, whether those products containing vitamin E, or if the products the people were vaping contained THC. Owners say the legitimate stores in Ohio don't sell products containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Federal and state investigators have stated one common thread in reported cases of pulmonary disease, was street purchased THC oil from marijuana, that contained Vitamin E acetate.
It's estimated around 9 million people vape in the United States. Owners of Larry's drive-thru and mini-mart in Poland Township will stop selling vaping supplies. The owner says they don't want to take any chances, however, they will continue to sell cigarettes, cigars, and alcohol.
Owners of Vapor Express say they don't plan on vaporizing their small business. One of the three women business owners Patti Bondar said, "It helped me quit smoking. I tried 35 out of 40 years to quit smoking but never could. The first day I tried vaping and I quit. That is how this became my passion. I could not walk or talk without coughing. I believe it saved my life. We have had customers come in here and say vaping saved their lives. We are careful about the products we sell. Our supplier for our house blends has liability insurance which means they stand behind their products. Before anyone bans the products they should pay attention to on one sales. On line sales are rampant. There are people selling TCH cartridges and they are expensive and you have to buy so many of them. So some people may be buying those then selling them on the street. There are companies online that sell knock off products. Everyone is hearing the headlines but they are not listening to the end of the story. A majority of the cases involve THC. We do not sell products with THC in Ohio. We do sell CBD products but they are pharmaceutical grade products. We work to put extremely reliable products in our store. To generalize and say everyone stop vaping today is unfair. People have been buying products that contain vitamin E instead of vegetable glycerin when vitamin E can solidify in a person's lungs. In addition, none of our products contain Diacetyl which was linked to popcorn lung by the CDC."
Diacetyl is used to flavor foods. The substance has been banned by the United Kingdom in vaping materials. That substance was linked to popcorn lung by the CDC, after workers at a popcorn plant came down with permanent lung problems in the past. The chemical is responsible for a buttery taste and was used in the manufacture of popcorn but the industry stopped using diacetyl.
Attorney David Betras said, "I imagine there will be some lawsuits in the future in states where there have been reported illnesses and deaths. Any business that sells any product should have a commercial liability policy. The policies are not that expensive. There has been no mass litigation so far, and I think that is to be determined. The question becomes can you prove your illness was caused by vaping. That is a big hurdle for someone. Certainly, if a pen explodes that is a lot easier to prove than I got sick from vaping. You can probably find doctors that say a person was sick from vaping, and you can probably find doctors who will say that person would have gotten this sickness regardless of the vaping. So you have to prove causation. That the vaping caused their injury. Potentially if there is no warning on the product there could be a risk for e-cigarettes that they could be held liable."
As of September 6, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control reported over 450 possible cases of lung illnesses associated with the use of e-cigarette products from 33 states. Five deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon. Many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products such as THC. The agency recommends not using e-cigarette products. The CDC and Food and Drug Administration are working with states to identify the substances or products that may be causing or contributing to the illnesses. The agencies state, "While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products. People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms, (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever) and probably seek medical attention for any health concerns. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer."
A source we talked with says the THC cartridges online are popular with some teens and young adults because they can conceal the product from their parents and people easier. The products don't smell as strongly as marijuana so they can get high and conceal what they are doing better.