PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s vaping industry wants its consumers to know that there is a big difference between those in the e-cigarette industry and those in the marijuana vaping industry.
Creating a distinction between the two comes as several hundred people across the country have fallen ill with a severe lung disease. Six people, including one in Oregon, have died and these deaths have been linked to vaping.
Business owners in the local e-cigarette industry are worried about what will happen to their businesses, and they want people to understand the different types of vaping. One is nicotine, the other is THC. And the Oregon death is linked to a purchase at a legal cannabis retailer.
The Oregon Vapor Trade Association said there are at least 200 vaping stores in the state that are selling e-cigarette products with water soluble ingredients — unlike the oil used in marijuana vaping products. They believe the problem is coming from THC products. In many of the cases of illness, patients have said they vaped using THC oil. But no specific product has been linked yet to all of the illnesses and deaths.
The e-cigarette retailers, who in some cases manufacture their own flavorings, also fear their businesses will go under if a federal ban against most flavorings goes into effect.
“Children have no business having vapor products in their possession whatsoever,” said Joseph Gilpatrick of Northwest Freedom Vape. “But taking away flavorings from a grown adult is irresponsible. If I didn’t have something that didn’t taste like a cigarette, I would still be smoking today.”
Business owners also don’t want warning signs against vaping up in their stores as suggested by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The CDC recommendations include a line that says adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
Those in the e-cigarette business say they are federally regulated and if flavorings are banned there will be a large black market that will pop up, which they fear could be even more harmful.