Sonoma County

Vape Shops Fight Back Against Vaping Bans

On the heels of Bay Area vaping bans and a vaping-related death in Marin County, owners and customers of Bay Area stores that sell vaping products have made an effort to tell a different side of the story, saying that vaping has actually improved the health of many.

Sebreena Adams, a customer at E-Cig 101 in Rohnert Park, has not had a cigarette in four years. She replaced her cigarette addiction with an adjustable vaping device that allows her to control her dose.

"I did have asthma," Adams said. "I don't have any lung issues anymore and my doctor says since I've stopped smoking cigarettes it’s helped a lot.”

On Wednesday, Amanda Arcanti, 45, of Vacaville, became the first person in the Bay Area to die of causes associated with vaping. Her exact cause of death is to be determined.

The Centers for Disease Control said that most of the nearly 40 vape-related deaths nationwide are connected to the use of unregulated THC cartridges from the black market, where manufacturers add vitamin e acetate to thicken the liquid.

Like an estimated 94% of people who vape, Adams uses vape juice, not THC cartridges. At E-Cig 101 all the vape juice products sold are regulated.

“It’s totally fine if you want to ingest it,” said Anthony Adame, owner of E-Cig 101 about vitamin e acetate. “But if you inhale the aerosol of it, it forms an oil on the inside of your lungs and that’s what’s causing the issue.”

Sonoma County is considering shutting down vape shops in unincorporated areas, but Adame said that will just force customers to the black market – which is where the tainted products are. Adame said his and other vape shops are gathering signatures to halt the move by the county.

“I would say we have 250 to 300 plus signatures,” he said.

The other main issue among those who support vape bans is underage vaping.

“Vape shops are very strict about who we ID and who we let into the shop,” Adame said. “If vape shops could be exempt from this flavored ban it would be a win-win.”

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