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Vape shop owner: Ingredient believed to cause illnesses isn’t in every vape product

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The oil suspected of being responsible for vaping-related sicknesses and deaths solidifies in your lungs

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Federal health officials said the reason there have been so many vaping-related illnesses and deaths is because of what’s known as vitamin E acetate — a supplement that shouldn’t be breathed in.

The Centers for Disease Control announced its findings for vaping-related deaths. It says the compound vitamin E acetate was found in electronic cigarettes and vaping devices used by many of those who got sick.

So I spoke to Nick Katsourakis of Rocco’s Vape Lounge on how this affects vapors.

“Vitamin E acetate is an oil,” said Nick Katsourakis, co-owner of Rocco’s Vape Lounge in Boardman. “Oil, what happens is when it’s vaporized, it’s being inhaled into the lungs, it condenses and it solidifies and the lungs are not able to expel it.”

He said that’s largely different from the liquid he sells, which is water-soluble.

“Meaning it dissolves in water, meaning that the lungs are able to expel it.”

Vitamin E acetate is not illegal but because it’s an oil, it’s not supposed to be inhaled. It’s supposed to be used on the skin or you can get it in pill form.

Now that we know what could be causing vaping-related illnesses and death, the next question is where it’s coming from.

The Trump administration and several government leaders, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, have expressed their desire to ban flavored vape products, saying they appeal to teenagers. Many states have already banned them.

“What happened is when you took all those products away from people, they turn to a black market,” Katsourakis said.

He said Juul pods aren’t the problem.

“It’s stuff coming from China, not going through proper quality controls.”

Fear of the product is causing him to lose customers.

“I’ve had people kind of be scared off by it,” Katsourakis said. “I’ve had a lot of people come back, saying that they’ve actually gone back to smoking cigarettes.”

He said the next step is showing people what to stay away from.

“Put a picture to what they’re talking about so people know what to avoid, to avoid any more illnesses or any more deaths.”

More than 2,000 Americans who use e-cigarettes have gotten sick this year and at least 40 have died.

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