PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - For some cigarette smokers, vaping is a way to wean themselves off tobacco.
A local vape shop owner believes illegal THC cartridges are the ones hurting people because of harmful ingredients. (WJHG/WECP)
But now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into more than 450 cases of possible lung illnesses related to e-cigarettes.
"Makes me not want to pick it up," said Bay County resident Robbie Young.
But the owner of Cloud 9 Tobacco Shop, Candido Feliciano says the e-cigarettes harming people are ones you wouldn't find in most vape shops.
"I really wish that they wouldn't clump the two together," said Feliciano.
Feliciano says some of the illegal cartridges you could find on the streets look small glass cylinders with a black, gold, or white mouthpiece, and they could go by the name of Mario Kart, Dank Cart, and Exotic Cart.
"The cartridges are filled with illegal THC and illegal cutting agents," said Feliciano.
Feliciano says some of those illegal cutting agents can include Vitamin E Acetate. The Food and Drug Administration's website says many of the cartridges they tested have also found significant amounts of Vitamin E Acetate and are encouraging people to stay away from buying vaping or THC products on the street.
"If they are gonna sit there and buy their off-market or black market carts, they are risking death," said Feliciano.
Feliciano says the most important thing he wants people to know is flavored e-cigarettes are different from the THC cartridges.
But now President Trump plans on banning flavored e-cigs, and Feliciano believes that might make people revert to old habits.
"Vaping is just helping people get away from smoking cigarettes, and if you put a ban in place in a short period of time, people are gonna go right back to smoking cigarettes," said Feliciano.
If you do have concerns about the products you're buying, Feliciano recommends an Instagram page called xyzblacklist 2.0.
"That guy has been doing a lot of good research on the vaping industry, what's coming up, what goes into the carts, how they're produced, where they're produced," said Feliciano.
But before you follow the page, it's always encouraged to follow the suggestions of the FDA and CDC.
Bay County Sheriff's Officials tell us they have not seen any of these illegal cartridges in our area.
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