“Part of the problem with e-cigarettes is that there is a big unknown with that,” Dr. David Ryon, of Deaconess Pulmonary & Critical Care said.
The federal government says e-cigarettes pose a dangerous risk – with more reported illnesses and deaths announced every day. Right now the CDC says 530 confirmed or probable cases of lung problems related to vaping have been reported in 38 states.
Vape shop owners like Josh McCullough say they’re feeling the impacts.
“Since these stories have started running about these tragic lung illnesses and deaths, the whole industry has seen a drop in sales, and it comes from the customer confusion that it’s our product that is hurting people,” said McCullough.
McCullough says his business like others are held to a certain standard.
“All of our products are registered with the FDA, they haven’t been approved yet, but were registered with the FDA, we are registered with the state of Indiana, we are held to some level of accountability,” McCullough said.
Doctors say the most concerning part of vaping is that investigators haven’t been able to link these ingredients to any single product.
“This uptick recently is something new, we just had a girl in the hospital with what looked like this sort of illness people are talking about,” said Dr. Ryon.
Meantime, lawmakers are also reacting to the news.
“At a wider level, I just got off the phone with our congressman Larry Bucshon, who’s been in touch with the FDA and surgeon general, and they are working on initiatives to get rid of this flavoring that is enticing the kids, and may have something to do with this reaction that is killing people lately,” Dr. Ryon said.
Local vape shop owners say they’re concerned a vacuum will be created once the devices are more heavily regulated.
“All of us, all of the legitimate manufacturers go out of business and somebody will fill that void,” said McCullough. “And they are not going to manufacture it the same way we do with the same standards and procedures and same accountability, it’s going to be some guy in his garage making this stuff and people are going to be hurt because of it.”