WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The State Department of Health says they’re trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on with vaping-related illness and curb teenage use of flavored e-cigarettes.

Now, health department officials say Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products are likely to blame for illnesses, not nicotine, and those items are not on store shelves.

“We’ve looked at the samples that have been provided to us, and the vast majority have been on the black market,” says Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health for New York State.

“We need to make sure our kids are not getting addicted to these products, and we also need to find the source of the problem that have caused so many deaths in the country,” says Zucker.

The DOH says lab tests showed high levels of Vitamin E acetate, a thickening chemical, in all of the THC and cannabis samples. They say one illegal THC product in particular is linked to every lung illness patient in the state.

All of this isn’t news to Ken Gregory of Bad Drip Labs, a major vape supplier. He’s known about these issues from the get-go, but he’s happy with the acknowledgement from the state.

“It’s absolutely a win, but still a battle for sure,” he says.

Gregory is taking most of his business to North Carolina. Even with the vaping ban in limbo, he’s trying to sell what he can in New York. “It’s a cautious restock here,” he says pointing to his shelves, half full.

Gregory sees vaping in New York’s future, but with heavier regulations and clearer warnings. He says there’s a major mutual goal: combating teen vaping. 

“There’s sensible regulation were trying to work with politicians on, like restricting sales to 21-plus in locations, (and) restricting online sales,” says Gregory.

Zucker says until findings can be solidified, he recommends staying away from flavored e-cigarette products. The vaping ban remains tied up in state court.