Mississippi's Department of Health is urging people not to vape following a recent death in the state. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Mississippi is part of a national investigation into severe lung-related illnesses related to vaping. The state department of health reports an individual under age 30 died from a lung-related illness and three people are suffering from similar illnesses. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
"Nicotine can have effects on a developing brain. We know now that in some circumstances there can be some severe lung-associated or severe disease of the lung associated with vaping," said Byers.
Byers says those who became ill report vaping THC, the chemical in marijuana that creates the high and also used only nicotine. Mike Jefcoat is with the Mississippi Vaping Advocacy Association and owns Magnolia Vapes in Ridgeland. He says vaping is being misrepresented in the media. Jefcoat says customers have to be at least 18 and some teens are selling it to younger kids. He says the problem is people are buying illegal THC cartridges.
"When you're talking about illegal THC cartridges you're not really talking about legitimate vaping. You're talking about people who are taking and adulterating products and getting them out into the public. These are drug dealers," said Jefcoat.
Sara Bishop manages Cool Vapes in Flowood. She says vaping is designed to help people quit smoking while reducing their nicotine intake.
"As a 35 year pack a day smoker I tried everything that was out there, patches, gum, pills, you name it I tried it to try and stop. Nothing but vaping was ever successful," said Bishop.
sMike Jefcoat says the association will fight any attempts to end vaping. He does support raising the age to purchase products to 21.