• 3 sickened in Orange County by lung illness linked to vaping, health officials search for answers

    By: Samantha Manning , James Tutten

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Vaping has now been linked to a seventh deaths in the United States.

    Now, health officials are undergoing emergency operations to investigate the 380 cases of lung illnesses related to e-cigarettes in the country.

    Health officials say the long-term effects of vaping are still unknown and across the country they are warning people about the risks.


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    There have been at least three illnesses related to vaping reported in Orange County and all of them had to be hospitalized.

    Om Suchweil owns Social Smoke Shop Orlando on Colonial Drive and he says e-cigarettes are among the many products you'll find on the shelves here.

    "This is a very popular thing right now. It's a disposable e-cig," Suchweil said. "Most of the customers that I have that are into vaping are in their upper 20s, to like, mid-to upper 60s."

    But the future of whether those vaping products will still be allowed to be sold may be unclear.

    In New York, health officials approved an emergency ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. And in California, where two deaths have been linked to vaping, the governor is now calling for warning labels, an awareness campaign and a ban on illegal vaping products.

    "Again, we're pushing the envelope. We'll see how far we can go," said California Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no single product linked to all cases of lung disease at this point. But there are some similarities. 

    The agency said many of the patients have reported using THC products. They said the lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure.

    Suchweil said the illegal vaping cartridges are especially dangerous.

    "Black market underground stuff. Illegal, completely,” Suchweil. "There's no way to measure what's in it. There's no way to test it."

    Health officials are working to figure out what exactly is making e-smokers sick.

    Suchweil expects the crackdown to lead to stricter federal regulations on the products..

    "I think it'll be regulated, and it'll be pretty much the same thing just owned by bigger companies," Suchweil said.

    As for the three cases of illnesses reported in Orange County; the health department says there was not any one particular brand in common.

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