NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As a flavored e-cigarette ban in New York City moves closer to a vote, some users worry they’ll return to traditional tobacco.
All of this comes amid a new type of lung-illness believed to be linked to the habit.
The numbers on the vaping crisis stand at 47 deaths reported nationwide. More than 2,200 people have been treated for illnesses.
For eight years, Spike Babaian has tried to run her business, Vape New York on the up and up.
“We are very careful about the rules. We think it’s important people understand this is not a product for youth,” Babaian said.
She wonders if all she’s worked for is about to go up in smoke.
“Every shop in New York City will close almost immediately.”
If the health of New Yorkers will deteriorate even more as the City Council moves closer to banning all flavors of e-cigarettes.
“Adults have the right to choose a product that keeps them from going back to cigarettes… We are infuriated right now.”
“If they ban it, I’m gonna have to go back to smoking cigarettes,” Abdoul Diallo said.
“We’re gonna continue to allow the sale of vaping devices and tobacco flavored liquids,” City Councilman Mark Levine said.
Councilman Levine is the sponsor of the bill that as of Thursday — appeared to have secured a majority of support in the council. He says he’s sensitive to mom and pop business — but at the end of the day this is about saving young people.
“It’s a highly concentrated dose of nicotine, it has to stop and the flavors is what’s hooking kids.”
The likelihood of a city flavor ban comes as we learn a 17-year-old boy in Canada was hospitalized for 47 days. Once admitted, his condition rapidly declined.
“If not on life support machines, he would have passed away from that illness,” Dr. Karen Bosma said.
Doctors say he was suffering from bronchiolitis obliterans – more commonly called “popcorn lung” – named for the lung injury suffered by microwave popcorn factory workers who inhaled a chemical known as diacetyl.
In this case, the teen vaped flavored e cigarettes and THC for five months.
Spike insists the illness couldn’t have been linked to legitimate products tested in labs.
“There’s a tainted substance that caused people to get ill in tainted cartridges,” Babaian said.
She worries a flavor ban will immediately give rise to a dangerous black market of products and hopes people will make their voices heard as the council takes a vote Tuesday.
“Our biggest hope is that people using these products to save their lives will show up Tuesday and speak for themselves.”
On Friday, President Trump will hold a meeting at the White House to address concerns about vaping, specifically in teens. There will be a focus on the impact of flavored products.