Tampa vape shop fights stigma after CDC e-cigarette warning

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As federal health officials investigate the link between e-cigarettes and an outbreak of chronic lung disease, Tampa vape shop owners insist vaping with reputable products is still much safer than smoking cigarettes.

The CDC announced Friday that a new report shows as many as 450 cases of mysterious lung disease acrose the nation, and at least three deaths, are linked to vaping. The CDC issued guidance urging people to stop vaping until investigators pinpoint what is making vapers sick.

Those in the vape business believe black market products could be to blame, and fear the CDC’s recommendation is a bad guidance that’s bad for business.

“You’re telling my customers to go away and not do this anymore?” asked Mike Cherup, owner of South Tampa Vape. “So what should they do, go back to regular cigarettes?”

The CDC has not found a substance linked to all cases but many of the reported patients are young and admitted to vaping THC. Because of that, Cherub speculates black market products could contain unknown substances that are making people ill.

“Our question here in the industry is where are they getting these products, and what are these products they are getting,” Cherup said.

Cherup is confident that every product on his shelves is a safe alternative to cigarettes. He opts to not carry certain controversial products, like JUUL or juices containing diacetyl, out of an abundance of caution.

South Tampa Vape employee and customer Torri Wilson switched to vaping from cigarettes about a year ago to improve her health. That’s why she says she meticulously checks the ingredients she’s inhaling. Certain vaping products she refuses to use, and encourages others to do their research.

“You definitely need to know what you’re getting into and what you’re putting into your body,” Wilson said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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