CDC warns against e-cigarette use; local smokers and businesses react

NORFOLK, Va. - Concern continues to grow over the use of e-cigarettes and possible health concerns.

Experts report six people have died from lung disease related to vaping.

News 3 talked with people who are now putting down the vapes -  and others who are standing behind it.

“With vapes, it's different 'cause you have, like, a flavor and you smell, and it feels really good,” Leidy Mondragon, who vapes occasionally, said.

Mondragon said she’s now thinking about giving up on that good feeling.

“I’m like, I really don’t wanna do it. I’m really scared of something happening. I know that probably they have now have issues because they probably done it a long time,” she told News 3 reporter Brian Hill.

The most recent report from the CDC said there are 380 cases of lung illness related to e-cigarettes, or vaping.

The number is not a surprise to some.

“Vaping and smoking cigarettes are kind of similar 'cause it has nicotine in it, so I’m not surprised,” Joseph Tanner mentioned. He doesn’t vape but has friends that do.

“I feel like six deaths a year - I’m actually surprised it’s not more, to be honest, just because of the chemicals you’re putting in there,” he explained.

Experts are warning teens and adults to stay away from e-cigarettes as they investigate.

Staff at a Norfolk vape shop defended the industry and believe most people who have gotten sick are using illegal THC oil in their vape pens.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

“With this whole banning them outright, that seems a little unnecessary. The industry does need to be more heavily regulated because there is a lot of unknown things being put into these vape pens. Whenever you’re inhaling something into your lungs, there’s a big chance for it to go bad if you don’t know what you are putting in there,” Empey said.

Since 2014, the Virginia Department of Health said e-cigarettes have become the most commonly used tobacco among middle and high school students.

As for Mondragon, she said she’s not encouraging her friends to stop, but instead to use extra precaution.

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