Smoke shops “crossing fingers” that vape ban doesn’t come to Alaska

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Several states have placed temporary bans on electronic cigarette products in light of the outbreak of lung injuries associated with vaping, and smoke shops in Alaska are hoping that those bans don’t make their way to Alaska.

Marie Turner, a manager for Fatboy Vapors in Anchorage, said that recent headlines are alarming and that the injuries are not related to products they are selling.

“To ban that across the board, that’s not fair to those people who are trying to quit smoking,” Turner said.

Turner said the main concentration for the business is to help people stop using traditional cigarettes.

“So those who are trying to quit, if they continue to shop in reputable stores, they’ll be okay,” Turner said.

But the CDC and the State of Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program said it’s not that simple.

“The FDA does not recognize e-cigarettes as a cessation tool, they’re not recognized as a way to help you stop using tobacco products,” said Cheley Grigsby, the Program Manager for the State of Alaska.

“While this investigation is ongoing, CDC recommends that you consider refraining from using an e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC,” the website read.

As of Oct. 1, 1,080 lung injury cases were reported to the CDC associated with using e-cigarettes.

Eighteen deaths have been confirmed in 15 states. No cases have been reported in Alaska.

According to the CDC website, most patients report using THC-containing products.

However, the CDC has yet to determine a specific chemical exposure that causes lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use.

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