Brazos County Health District director wants e-cigarettes off the shelves

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - There have been six vaping related illnesses reported in Brazos County as of Monday.

There are 200 cases of vaping related illnesses in Texas, and one death in the state.

Last week, Brazos County Health District Director Santos Navarette presented these findings to the Bryan City Council and Brazos County Commissioners.

Navarette said that 85% of these illnesses are caused by vitamin E acetate, which is found in e-cigarettes that have THC in them.

"We at the Health District recommend that if you're vaping, stop vaping, or don't start vaping," said Navarette. "Here in Texas, over 50% of the e-cigarette vaping cases in Texas are between the ages of 13 and 19."

Navarette said in order to avoid vaping illnesses altogether; he would like to see them removed from the shelves altogether.

"I'm hoping that they'll be taken off the market and that it won't be a product that is available," said Navarette.

Local vape shop owner, Justin Younkin thinks this is a step too far.
"People think that vaping is hurting people, it's not," said Younkin. "It's the combustion of products that are street products. It is an oil product that is going into their lungs, and it's a street product."

Younkin said he didn't open vapor Pursuit to hurt people but to help cigarette smokers.

"These are adult products," said Younkin. "This location, in particular, was founded to help people stop smoking, and that is the reason we started this business to save people's lives."

He said that none of his products contain vitamin E and that all of his e-cigarettes are regulated by the FDA.

"We go through all the steps to go through the oversight, and we're for the oversight," said Younkin.

The two can agree on one thing, and that is how dangerous street products can be for people, especially teens and children.

"Once it damages the lungs, they're damaged permanently," said Younkin.

Officials with the Brazos County Health District hope to see a change in the law at the beginning of 2020.