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Potential ban on vaping products could hurt local business in CT

HARTFORD --  The numbers of people being diagnosed with illnesses related to e-cigarette products continues to rise.

The multi-state outbreak has led to six deaths.

The Connecticut Department of Health is encouraging residents to avoid using e-cigarettes or vaping products while an investigation into the products continue.

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that they are working to ban all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette products from the market. This could have an effect on local Connecticut business.

“An outright ban on them would definitely hurt small businesses in the area,” said Alex Keenan.

Keenan works for Songbirds Vape & Smoke in West Hartford. He says flavored pods make up a good portion of their sales. A ban would bring about significant cause for concern.

“Even the 21 and up law that recently passed. That alone will definitely hurt our sales,” said Keenan.

The Trump administration says The FDA will develop the guidelines around the e-cigarette products.

“We can’t allow people to get sick. We can’t allow our youth to be so effected,” said President Trump.

Nationwide there have been 450 cases of lung illnesses linked to e-cigarettes and vaping. Here in Connecticut there have been eleven. All of which were reported in the last three weeks.

“These are all people that are otherwise healthy and that is a common denominator among all of them,” said Barbra Walsh of Connecticut's Department of Health.

DPH is unsure if this is related to more awareness of the dangers of the products or a new chemical causing the problem. They are encouraging residents to avoid using e-cigarettes or vaping products while an investigation into the products continue. The CDC, FDA and local state departments are investigating to try to pinpoint specifically what chemicals or products are causing the issues.

“We want people to know that even though they may appear to be safer than cigarettes they are not completely safe,” said Walsh.

DPH and the CDC recommend that people do not buy e-cigarette products off the street. Something Keenan agrees could be hazardous.

"If everywhere else is charging $20, $15 and they’re selling them for $10, chances are it’s too good to be true," said Kennan.

The CDC notes that most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC while some have reported to only use nicotine products.

The CDC and DPH ask anyone with concerns of symptoms related to vaping products to seek medical attention.

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