Local vape shop owner says recent headlines about e-cigs unfairly damaging business

CDC tracking about 800 cases of lung injuries linked to vaping

SAN ANTONIO – Vape shop owners say recent bad press that vaping is getting is hurting their business.

Kory Atkinson, who has been in business since 2012, said the decision to open a shop was partly personal. His grandmother died of COPD, and he had tried other products to quit but only vaping worked.

“It's not e-cigs that have been causing the illnesses and deaths -- it's illegal THC,” he said from his shop in Castle Hills.

He said his business has been bad across the board since the news about e-cigarettes came out.

RELATED: H-E-B bans e-cigarette sales at all stores

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 12 confirmed deaths related to vaping, and it’s tracking about 800 cases of lung injuries linked to vaping. About 500 of those cases have been linked to THC products in vaping.

Since the investigation into the exact cause is not yet known, however, the CDC is urging people to refrain from using e-cigarettes and vaping products, especially those with THC.

Atkinson said the blame should be put on bootleg products that are bought in the black market that come with Vitamin E or other unknown and unregulated chemicals.

“The government doesn't have to come in and decide vaping with a very unfortunate 12 deaths that have resulted from the THC,” he said. A total of “1,300 hundred people died today from smoking-related illnesses. Thirteen hundred died yesterday. Thirteen hundred will die tomorrow. They're not talking about ... that product.

According to the CDC, traditional cigarette smoking and tobacco use are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S., including 41,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke. That number amounts to about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.

Atkinson said the sale of e-cigarettes and other products should be left to the control of specialty shops where there’s better control to make sure only those 21 and older have access to it.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.