NEWINGTON -- With the public health scare over vaping still going strong, one shop forced to shutter its doors is responding with a message: Lies shut us down.
Business was booming when the owners of All Things Vape opened their Newington location earlier this year.
"We saw an opportunity to help people live a better life — a cigarette free life," said one owner in a video posted to social media.
Business quickly declined after a flurry of reports from public health officials suggested vaping could be linked to a new and mysterious lung illness. Eventually, the owners felt they had no choice but to close the new shop permanently.
"There was a lot of misinformation being put out there," they said.
Many elected officials have called for flavor bans and even outright vaping bans in the wake of the health scare. But according to the CDC and FDA, a vast majority of the illnesses are linked to black market THC vaporizers, which aren't sold in stores like All Things Vape.
Advocates for smoke-free alternatives say the real public health crisis is that people who stopped smoking and turned to vaping are now going back to cigarettes.
"We have thousands of smokers that have gone from vaping back to smoking," said Andrew O'Bright of the Connecticut Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association. "Half those people are set to lose their lives because of smoking-related illnesses."
As of October 2019, there were 1,299 cases of lung injury and 26 deaths possibly linked to vaping. Traditional cigarettes kill 480,000 people each year, or about half of all users.
According to CDC data, over 9 million people vape regularly in the United States.