The owner of several Illinois vape stores claims "misinformation" about the current respiratory crisis and the vaping industry could potentially destroy his business.
Many Illinois lawmakers, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, have called for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes after 18 deaths were linked to e-cigarettes.
More than 1,080 lung injury cases have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the vaping industry asserts the respiratory issues are overwhelmingly linked to black market cartridges containing THC, which is the main ingredient in cannibis.
"We've been in business for about six years now, and not even a single issue and out of the blue, it's became an explosion of problems that the whole industry has been blamed for," said vape shop owner Majid Jabber.
"It's like putting something in a bottle of water and drinking and blame it on the water bottle or the water itself," Jabber said.
Some of Illinois' 700 vape shops are seeing a decrease in sales, and some are even closing, according to the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois.
"Our existing customers actually converted to cigarettes, back in to cigarettes again and their claim was, well, it cannot be worse than vaping, and that is just heartbreaking after all the progress we’ve made," Jabber said.