WACO, Texas – The Department of State Health Services identified 173 cases of severe lung disease in Texas.
Those cases came from people who say they were vaping beforehand, and so far one related death has been reported.
The median age of those affected is 22 years old, with three quarters of those affected in Texas being male. A quarter affected is under the age of 18.
Those stats for Misty Burke, the owner of Cloud Chasers Vaper Shop, come as a shock.
“It’s absolutely shocking, and it shouldn’t be that way,” Burke says.
Burke adds her shock is for different reasons.
One statistic that immediately stood out is that nine in ten of those injured reported vaping THC or marijuana.
Burke argues that while many are taking aim at vaper vendors, they are missing what she calls the true source of blame.
“Vaping is just a method of delivery. You can vape a dangerous chemical and say that vaping kills, but if you leave out that dangerous chemical, the headline just says vaping kills. And that’s what everybody is seeing,” Burke says.
Based on studies, this chemical has been a large cause of injuries when it comes to vaping. Burke feels this is what needs to be addressed.
“Take care of the street drugs that are actually killing people, the opioid problem, this black market THC cartridge problem,” Burke says.
Burke says many business owners play by the book – and though the statistics paint a scary picture, they shouldn’t be responsible for the choices of individuals.
“We’ve never sold to anyone underaged. We check every single ID. We don’t allow anyone under the age of 21 to even enter the store. We only sell reputable products whether its nicotine liquids or CBD. I research all the brands we use ourselves,” Burke says.