CDC urges vape users to quit all forms; local vape shop owner blames untested products

SALT LAKE CITY — As concerns over the consequences of vaping arise, the Centers for Disease Control are urging e-cigarette users to kick the habit.

Vaping-related illnesses have led to five deaths and more than 450 cases of severe lung disease across 33 states, including Utah.

Health officials in New York have received 34 reports from physicians in that state of pulmonary illness among patients who were using vape products containing cannabis.

"Laboratory test results showed very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed by the Wadsworth Center as part of this investigation. At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing," a news release from the New York Health Department.

The NYHD urges vape users not to buy unregulated vape products "off the street," as is often the case when people buy illegal cannabis cartridges for vaping.

Vape shop owners like Michael Berry, who owns Blackhouse Vapor Company in Salt Lake City, agrees with the recommendation not to buy untested vaping products.

“They’ll cut them with fentanyl, synthetic drugs, now they’re finding them with Vitamin E,” Berry said. “Pesticides, heavy metals, molds and mycotoxins, no potency issues.”

Berry said these issues are found in THC Cartridges bought off the street that have not been through lab tests.

THC oil is the component in cannabis that gets people high and is currently illegal in Utah.

Another issue Berry said comes from people building their own vaping devices.

“They’ll build coils on this device, stuff it with cotton and then drip their juice on top of that cotton and the vaporize off of it,” he said.

It works for a time, he said, but the hand-crafted vaporizer drains the battery faster than the device is designed to do, causing it to explode — defeating the purpose of the E-cigarette, which Berry said is a better alternative to smoking.

“E-cigarettes have been found to be 95 percent less harmful than smoking,” Berry said. “If you don’t vape, don’t start. If you’re not a smoker, don’t vape. But if you want to get off cigarettes, it’s one way to do that.”

The Department of Agriculture has a list of CBD products that are okay to vape. It can be found here.

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