CINCINNATI — While Gov. Mike DeWine was in town Thursday raising concerns about vaping-related illnesses, particularly among underage teens, Susan Schmidt walked into Jeff Kathman’s Cincy Vapors store on Glenway Avenue in Green Township to pick up pineapple-flavored e-juice.
DeWine says banning flavored e-cigarette products in Ohio would help stop underage teens from vaping.
“Fruity flavors that are being offered, melon for example, these are not offered to appeal to adults,” DeWine said.
But Kathman and Schmidt disagree and say banning them could cause more harm than good.
“Eighty-five to 90 percent of my sales are flavor products to grown adults,” said Kathman, who has owned Cincy Vapors since 2012.
Kathman said he and many of his customers turned to e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking tobacco.
“I’ve fallen into a cigarette, I’ve fallen into a cigar and they’re awful. Getting that nicotine delivery with the flavor taste keeps me off of tobacco,” Kathman said.
Schmidt, another former smoker, said she turned to e-cigarettes four years ago.
“It works really well. I’ve not smoked since then,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said she worries what she would do if she couldn’t have flavored e-cigarettes.
“If they stop giving us flavored vape to use and I go back to smoking, then that’s going to be somebody else’s fault. If I get lung cancer, shame on you,” Schmidt said.
Kathman said a statewide ban on flavored e-cigarettes would put his store and others out of business. He said a better way to crack down on underage users is to eliminate online nicotine sales, something he and other industry leaders support.
Meanwhile, the CDC reported a 40% surge in lung injuries related to vaping in just a week. It reported 530 confirmed and probable cases as of Sept. 17 – an increase of 150 from 380 on Sept. 11.
The CDC said 16% involve people younger than 18 and more than half involve people younger than 25.
There have been seven deaths.
MORE on the CDC report.