Prude Death Investigation

Local vape shop reacts to Friday deaths, concerns from state

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Meanwhile, CDC steps back warnings on vaping

WEBSTER, NY (WROC-TV) “So, it’s really sad to see for sure,” says Ken Gregory reacting Friday to the deaths of an Ontario County woman and another person officials say is due to vaping.

Gregory runs over a dozen vape shops across the region. He called both deaths a tragedy, but was critical of the language from Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York health officials. Gregory feels calling the deaths “vaping-related” is too vague. 

“They know what the problem is, his own health department identified that problem,” he adds.

Gregory says all state and federal studies conducted have turned up the same verdict. “Every single one contained a black-market Vitamin E acetate THC product,” he says.

Meanwhile, The Center for Disease Control stepped back from their vaping warning Friday. Now, it’s not a recommendation for everyone to avoid vaping, rather, it’s isolated to pregnant women, youths and non-tobacco users.

But Mary Beer, the Ontario County Public Health Director, reacting to Friday’s deaths, she still has general concerns.

“You can’t be putting something into your lungs that’s not gonna have some effect long term. Unfortunately now we’re seeing the repercussions much earlier than we expected,” says Beer.

And the pressure from Albany is still there. Gregory says even with the smoking age at 21, heavy taxes and fines, Cuomo wants to ban all e-cigarette flavors. Ex-smoker Chad Lucas has been vaping for ten years. He feels any further restrictions will hurt businesses and get people back on worse habits like cigarettes. 

“I don’t think the answer is to take something off the shelf that law abiding adults want,” says Lucas.

Gregory says he and others will be going to Albany on Tuesday. They’ll be meeting with lawmakers and try and make some headway in the vaping debate in New York.


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