NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) – The State Department of Public Health is reaffirming its warning for people, especially teens, to not use e-cigarettes or vaping products.
This comes after a death in Connecticut linked to vaping.
A Newington vape shop recently closed its doors. A sign on the window reads, “Lies shut us down” but the DPH might consider this closure as a small victory.
Brandon Gold owns All Things Vape. There is one store in Plainville, but his other location in Newington had to close.
“We’re seeing a drastic, I mean, like a shelf really dropped off with that whole smear campaign,” Gold said.
Gold told Channel 3 his sales dropped between 30 to 60 percent, week over week, due to the stories of patient cases linking illnesses and deaths to vaping.
He refers to this climate at “Vape-Pocalypse.”
Gold said he got into the businesses to get people to stop smoking combustible cigarettes.
If you ask Gold, like other vape shop owners, they believe the cases are related to black market THC-containing vaping products.
There was a recent pro-vape meeting where many considered the recent FDA warning, which asked people to stop using vaping products with THC, as a win.
But Barbara Walsh with the Connecticut DPH believe the argument paints a one-sided picture.
“There’s an equal number of people that said they only vaped TCH with a number of people who only vaped nicotine,” Walsh said.
In other words, DPH said it’s unclear what inside e-cigarettes and vape products are causing the illnesses and deaths.
At last check, the CDC reported more than 1,000 cases of vaping-related lung injuries and 24 deaths across the country.
The numbers don’t reflect the 25 cases and one death in Connecticut.
At All Things Vape, Gold is now fielding questions and purchase returns.
“The biggest thing we hear is, ‘why would I use something now that’ll kill me tomorrow when I can use something that will kill me later,’ as in cigarettes,” Gold said.
The concern for Gold is that his other location in Plainville will also close.
A group of eateries are now partnering up for an incentive, targeting students who vape.
Shef's Bagels in Cheshire joined three other eateries to send a message as part of "Ditch the Vape Day."
It's the brainchild of the Chesprocott Health District. It's targeted the four restaurants involved because it knows students like to hang out there.
The idea is that students can trade in their vaping device for a bagel and cream cheese, no questions asked.
Loyal customers remain divided if this trade-in will actually work.
"I think it's a good idea, but I don't think it's going to work," said Don Whipple.
The bagel store hadn't collected any vapes yet, but employees said the move was also about raising awareness.
DPH said it’s expecting to give another update in cases around the state soon.