LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- A Lafayette vape store owner is speaking out after a growing health crisis tied to vaping has led to six deaths.
Tim Champagne, the owner of Troposphere Vapors in both Lafayette and Scott, said they are trying to set the record straight when it comes to vaping illnesses that are tied to illegal THC vaping cartridges in Louisiana.
“The part I’m worried about for us with the demonizing of vaping with this illicit THC use which is two different businesses, two different entities,” added Champagne. “Vaping is the actual device. We vape E-liquids with harm reduction and nicotine, not THC.”
Just last week, CBS News reported that an 18-year-old from Illinois who was hospitalized, admitted to vaping with THC. That’s the primary ingredient in marijuana. Soon after doing so, the teen became feverish. He ended up in intensive care in the hospital.
“I’m getting better now that I’m off oxygen, but when I first got here, it was like a baby bear was on my chest,” Adam Hergenreder said.
Adam also admitted to getting the THC to vape off of from a drug dealer.
“THC is illegal. Stopping drugs is the problem here. We need to make sure that people are not trying to go out and buy illicit products from street dealers. Street dealers are going to make as much money as they can from whoever they can. They don’t identify or ask somebody their age for street products,” explained Champagne.
In a report from the Royal College of Physicians it said, “Major medical groups and governments have conclusively determined that vapor products are 95% safer than combustible cigarettes.”
“I got into this business to help people quit smoking because I had the same issue,” said Champagne. “It’s not something we just jumped into as a moneymaking thing. I go home every day feeling good because I’ve helped somebody quit smoking.”
At Troposphere Vapors, Champagne said they’ve been open for three years, and they’ve never had a problem or violation with the Louisiana Office of Alcohol Tobacco Control and selling to minors.