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ORLANDO, Fla. - Central Florida smoke shop owners are on alert after hearing about black-market vaping products from China that could be laced with fentanyl.
The vaping products look harmless, but according to the Florida Retail Federation, they’re considered dangerous and illegal. CEO Scott Shalley explains, "It’s a great threat to our youth and these are products that have not undergone any FDA scrutiny. No testing and no safety mechanism."
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is concerned too. "Remember any substance sold on the black market could contain fentanyl. It’s in counterfeit pill, cocaine, meth, and possibly in illicit vaping pods," she said.
Investigators said a Georgia teenager was hospitalized after vaping from a tainted product. Our affiliate FOX 5 in Atlanta talked to his mother.
"I called 911. They found the vape inside of his underwear."
Lynda Amos said her 13-year-old son Zachary had a stroke and ended up in a coma after he was pressured to use a fentanyl-laced vape. "He still has no movement in his left arm. It’s going to take a long time and a lot of therapy."
Brandon Pirela at Revo Vapes Smoke Shop in Orlando was concerned to see brands he has carried in his store listed in the FDA’s warning, about black market vaping products.
"Very surprising and concerning too for the public," he told FOX 35.
He said he plans to ask his vendors for more information about the product, saying safety is his priority. "More authentication for the devices, to be honest."
"We don’t want our retailers purchasing and reselling illicit products," said Shalley, adding that Florida is being targeted more than any other state. "You're seeing about $363 million in product, which is 20% over anywhere else in the nation."
He said he is working with legislators to figure out ways for young people to curb the use of vapes.