Monroe County Issues Vape Advisory

Monroe County Issues Vape Advisory


By Lowell Rose Rochester NY

Monroe County has issued an advisory asking people to stop using all electronic cigarette and vape products until an investigation into recent illnesses is complete.        

The advisory comes after the New York State Department of Health said it had received 34 reports from physicians about people with severe pulmonary illnesses since September 5.

“We’re seeing a rapid increase in the number of people who are succumbing to this illness,” said Dr. Michael Mendoza, commissioner of public health for Monroe County.

Some people said they used cannabis in their vaping products before becoming ill.

“As a result out the abundance of caution we’re asking all residents in Monroe County to stop using all vape products until we know more about what we’re learning from this investigation,” Mendoza said.

All data compiled by Monroe County has been sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state Health Department for investigation.

A vape shop owner in Hamlin disagrees with the latest advisory by the Monroe County Health Department.

“The recent deaths in our country have been associated with illegal, well in our state what would be considered illegal. The THC cartages which are being sold in other states they’re bootleg,” said Nicholas Stumpf, owner of The Joint Smoke and Vape. “They’re not the products that we have here in our stores for sale.”

Stumpf also disagreed with the idea that health officials don’t know what’s in the vaping products.

“They keep saying that ‘we don’t know what’s in the products’ that we ingest, (but) that’s not true. The Food and Drug Administration mandates us to have ingredients on the bottles that we sale, which we do, so we do know what we’re vaping,” he said.

Mendoza said there has always been health concerns surrounding the use of vaping products, but adds the situation is different now.

“We’re looking at potentially harmful products that are causing acute illnesses in people,” Mendoza said.

The investigation by the agencies involved does not have a timeline.

“We’re certainly not in a hurry, you know we want to do the right thing, we want the good science to prevail and so in that regard we’ll take every necessary precaution,” Mendoza said. “And I’d love to say that this would be done soon, but good science takes time, and we’re not going to sacrifice good science in the interest of some deadline.”

But Stumpf said he’s fighting back this advisory, in what he calls an attack on the vaping industry.

“I’ve taken steps today to try and speak in front of the state legislature, I’ve called (the) area office, Joe Robach’s office, and have asked to speak in front of the legislature,” Stumpf said.

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