Fishersville vape shop owner wants people to know the difference between illegal cartridges, vape shops

Dupree said the products he sells are very different from the illegal THC cartridges seized...
Dupree said the products he sells are very different from the illegal THC cartridges seized recently. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 26, 2019 at 6:36 PM EDT
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After the Waynesboro Police Department

connected to a recent spree of illnesses that seized national attention, the owner of a vape shop in Fishersville wants people to be aware of the difference in those cartridges and what a legal shop sells.

Keaton Dupree has owned High Voltage Vapor for the last four years, where they sell all kinds of different types of vapes and the liquid cartridges. He says he's seen vaping help a lot of people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, like Roger Cote.

"It makes you feel so much better," Cote said. "When I was smoking, I always felt terrible."

Dupree said he's worried about the impact of the recent lung illnesses on local vape stores.

"You don't want to see people getting ill, getting sick, but I do think it's very important to note the difference," Dupree said. "These cartridges are not what you're going to find at a vape shop. These are very specifically designed for THC, they're preloaded with THC."

Dupree said he thinks it's the unregulated THC cartridges causing people to get sick. According to the Center for Disease Control website, "most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC. Many patients have reported using THC and nicotine."

Specifically, officials are looking into the presence of vitamin E acetate as a commonality among many samples tested containing THC.

You won't be able to find those products in any store in Virginia, since THC is the active ingredient in marijuana and it's illegal as recreation. And since they're not sold in any sort of official, regulated way, the cartridges people buy on the street can be filled with anything the person filling them chooses.

Dupree also said THC cartridges and standard vape cartridges are two entirely different types of products, and you would not be able to use those cartridges in just any vape.

The kinds seized by Waynesboro police – known as "Dank" vapes – have

a number of patients fighting lung illness reported using.

The outbreak of illnesses has led Massachusetts to put a temporary ban on the sale of all vape and e-cigarette products, and some states have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The Food ad Drug Administration is also considering a policy on flavored e-cigarettes nationwide.

Dupree said the changes worry him.

"All kinds of businesses and all vape shops I know of have been affected. We've seen a major loss in sales because of it."

Cote said he was worried about the impact on local vape shops as well. He said he hopes he'll be able to avoid going back to smoking if some sort of ban on e-cigarettes happens in the state or nationally.