HARRISBURG, Pa. - One person has died, and at least nine other have been hospitalized in Pennsylvania from lung disease associated with vaping. Now, the Department of Health is warning vape users of illegal cartridges.
“I strongly urge anyone who is vaping illegally bought products in particular, illegally bought products with THC to stop," said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
Illegally bought vaping cartridges containing THC are what the Centers fo Disease Control says has been used in the majority of lung disease associated with vaping cases. Levine clarified these cartridges are not the ones being purchased from reputable vaping stores.
“We have drug dealers and some of them are actually a couple people in a basement throwing together chemicals and solvents to dissolve marijuana," said Dr. Levine. "And then slapping a label on it and selling it in the market.”
“I feel that she educated that it is the illegal THC cartridges that are causing these vaping related lung diseases," said Blue Door Vaping Owner Dave Norris.
Norris was happy to hear Levine warn against these black market cartridges, which are far from the products being sold in his store.
"Everything sold in our vape shop has been registered with the FDA and has the list of ingredients sent to the FDA," said Norris. "That is a requirement to be legal to be sold in my store.”
Norris says since lung disease associated with vaping began making headlines, he's seen a 40 percent decrease in sales, mostly from confusion on what's causing it. He doesn't just worry about his business, but the people who rely on him for a smoking alternative.
“For our government to put out information that confuses people enough that they’re going to put down their 95 percent safer product and pick up a product that kills half its users is heartbreaking," said Norris.
Dr. Levine also urged the legislature to pass legislation that would up the age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21-years-old. This type of legislation is supported by Norris.