Rep. Paul Ray puts vape shops and Utah’s health departments on notice

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – District 13’s Representative Paul Ray says BeachTree Diagnostics Lab conducted testing on 12 samples of e-cigarettes and vape juice. He says 10 of the substances came back positive for barbiturates, CBD, opioids, oxycodone, PCP, and THC.

The representative corrected his claims that he made with ABC4 News on Tuesday where he stated 17 samples were tested.

Wednesday, he put vape shops and Utah’s health departments on notice.

“As of today, as of right now it is not legal to sell vaping juice or any kind of a vape product that is not in a closed system,” said Rep. Ray.

He said a rule put in by the vaping industry in 2015 requires a US FDA approval through a Pre-Market Tobacco Application after August 8, 2019.

“So as of August 8th, it is illegal to sell vape juice. It’s illegal to sell anything but a closed cartridge in the State of Utah,” he added.

Doctors at Intermountain Medical Center say the patients range from 17-50 and that 90 percent of the cases are young adults in their 20s-30s.

The Utah Department of Health tells ABC4 News there are 35 current cases it’s investigating linked to vaping.

Intermountain Healthcare Pulmonologist Dr. Dixie Harris said, “Many times they have come into InstaCare emergency rooms, they actually think they have the flu. Many times they go home and come back and it is very clear they have a severe lung problem.”

Jaidan-Starr Fox at Intermountain Medical Center

Jaidan-Starr Fox was Dr. Harris’s first patient and one of those who had to make three trips before being admitted on August 8th.

“I actually had some chemical phenomena from vaping,” Fox says, “I’m actually still on oxygen every single night to this day because of it… A month later and I will probably be on oxygen for the rest of September.”

Fox says her lungs looked similar to these x-rays.

Image provided by Intermountain Medical Center

Doctors say these lungs should look black with air but as you can see they don’t.

Image provided by Intermountain Medical Center

“And when we see something that doesn’t look black, like white clouds, we know there is something else going on. Inflammation, fluid, extra tissue, other things in the lung and that is what we are worried about,” said Dr. Harris.

Fox added, “It was crazy to think that something that I thought wasn’t bad could put me in the hospital and like almost put me on my death bed.”

Jaidan-Starr Fox at Intermountain Medical Center

Fox said she stayed in the hospital for five days.

“They had put me into a medically induced coma actually because I wasn’t breathing on my own,” said Fox. “So that was crazy. It was weird to wake up from that not knowing what is going on.”

Now she has a message for everyone, “All I can say is it’s not worth it.”

Jaidan-Starr Fox on oxygen treatment

ABC4 News spoke with the Utah Department of Health about ‘Rule R384-415-7 Product Quality’ that bans e-juice. A spokeswoman said they need to investigate this further.

One store owner who sells vaping products says he will pull the products once his lawyers tell him to.

ABC4 News also reached out to BeachTree Diagnostics Labs but have not heard back at the time of this report.

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