Vape store owner speaks out after Parson announces 'Clean the Air' campaign

Posted on 16 October 2019 at 10:11pm

MEXICO – A vape business owner defended their products after Governor Mike Parson released his ‘Clean the Air’ campaign Tuesday. The campaign is intended to ensure all youth and those who supply them with these products understand the real risks identified with youth vaping.

But, Anchor Vape Lounge co-owner Rachel Lake said people are buying THC cartridges and pods from drug dealers, putting these on their vaping devices or JUULs. She said THC cartridges and pods are causing the epidemic.

The CDC said as of October 4th there have been 22 cases of vaping related illnesses in Missouri. This includes one death.

"People are misusing vape pen batteries that are intended for nicotine vape products to put their illegal THC cartridges on to," Lake said.

Lake said people have been misinformed about what is causing the deaths in young teens. Her revenue has gone down in the last four weeks.

“On a normal day, it is about $1,000 a day. I have about $100 in the register today,” Lake said.

Lake said she only sells vaping devices, no JUUL products. Lake said vaping devices and JUULs are often put in the same category, but they are different. 

“They want to attack something they don’t know anything about,” Lake said, referring to the vaping devices. “Nicotine in E-Liquids is not killing anybody.” 

Customer James Williams said his lungs collapsed in an accident, causing him to quit his smoking habit. Williams turned to vaping devices because he said it was a safer option.

“If people don’t have the option to vape, they are going to go back to cigarettes,” Williams said.

Lake said she is worried about a possible ban on vaping devices, causing her business to shut down.

“I literally can’t sleep at night. I wake up everyday worried and I don’t know what my family would do,” Lake said. “I have a wife and three kids to support.”