GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- Dan Reinke has been in the vape business for nearly seven years.
“We’re trying to convert smokers. We’re here to help people reduce or stop combustible tobacco,” Reinke said.
He owns three locations of 3D Vapor in Illinois and also wholesale distributes vaping products. He said the changing headlines about vaping are hurting his business and many others.
“I’ve been watching people go out of business and it’s heartbreaking,” said Reinke. He added he lost two employees last week who left due to the uncertainty.
Reinke said the constant headlines about vaping are creating misconceptions.
He feels people are overlooking the fact that it appears unregulated THC is a factor in the nationwide outbreak of lung-related issues being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC is investigating 18 deaths in 15 states as of October 1, 2019. The CDC said all patients had a history of using e-cigarettes or vaping products. The CDC also added that its “findings suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak” and that “most patients report a history of using THC-containing products”.
Reinke said their mission is to help adults pull away from traditional cigarettes.
He’s a member of the Vapor Technology Association and is pushing for regulations he feels would address the real issues at the state and federal level.
Reinke said he is supportive of all states joining Illinois in Tobacco 21 by raising the age limit to purchase tobacco and nicotine vapor products to 21-years-old.
Reinke said studies show most kids are getting vaping products from peers.
“There’s a lot of 18-year-olds who are seniors in high school and it can basically turn some of those 18-year-olds into nicotine dealers or Juul dealers,” Reinke said.
He also supports other regulations to help control tobacco distribution including: having nicotine caps, third party age verification for buyers which can protect against fraud or fake IDs and having strict marketing standards for vaping products.