What do Utah’s vaping numbers show?

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health is investigating as many as 95 lung illness cases, including one death, all related to vaping.

Grant Hiller the owner of iVape says, “It is very relieving that we finally have the facts come out.”

The facts the owner was waiting on came down Tuesday afternoon from the Utah Department Of Health.

In a press release, the department confirmed 83 lung-related illnesses from vaping, 11 more are under investigation and one death.

Roughly 90 percent of those people were hospitalized according to state officials.

Photo of THC Cartridges

“A little over 90 percent have self-reported vaping THC,” said UDOH Epidemiologist Rebecca Ward. “We do know that THC, the samples we’ve tested in Utah have found vitamin e acetate, which is a known cutting agent, so we do know that something has changed in the vaping world.”

Ward goes on to say, “If you are using THC or medical marijuana, if there is another way to get your marijuana other than vaping, we would recommend you do that. Our message is not to vape THC carts at all.”

When it comes to legal e-liquids Ward says, “The samples we tested for nicotine did not show any unexpected compounds, but if you’re continuing to vape purchase your liquids from a reputable source, a Utah vape shop.”

Hiller says those facts help but the industry is still recovering from recent reports.

“It has definitely affected a lot of shops. It affects a lot of manufacturers and the most important thing, in my opinion, is it affects public health,” Hiller adds.

On Monday, Grand County School District retracted a statement when a retest showed a false positive for meth on vaping devices confiscated from students. The school district states the tests did indicate at least one THC vaping device.

In September, Beechtree Diagnostics came out stating the test they did for Representative Paul Ray was roughly 40 percent accurate and shouldn’t be used as official results.

Rep. Ray used the lab tests in a press conference. At the press conference, he says the lab found barbiturates and opioids among other drugs in 10 of 12 e-liquids.

The Representative was warned of future lawsuits because of the press conference.

“When you have a false narrative being fed like it was, it’s scary for public health,” says Hiller.

Hiller plans to meet with state legislators and UDOH to come up with solid regulations that should hit the upcoming legislative session.

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