SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Haight Street is home to many vape shops that say they are seeing sales drop significantly amid confusion and concern over vaping-related deaths and illnesses.
“Oh man, you get lucky to sell one a week, if that,” said Mohammad Sadieah, manager of Head Rush. “We used to sell 10 to 20 a day so it’s a big drop.”
Sadieah says business has tanked up to 50 percent since San Francisco passed an impending ban on e-cigarettes and the sharp and sudden rise in lung disease that has killed at least 42 people nationwide, including four in California. The majority of the deaths may have been linked to black market cannabis vape cartridges.
Down the street at Pipe Dreams, the oldest smoke shop in San Francisco, vape sales — which accounted for up to 20 percent of its business — has dropped to nearly nothing.
“Almost every person that comes in, especially for a few days there, was bringing that up at some point,” said Cassandra Chatham, owner of Pipe Dreams.
Chatham says vape users have been turning to glass pipes as an alternative.
A customer and cannabis company owner, who did not want to share his identity, told KPIX he has smoked cannabis vape pens everyday for the past six years. He has not changed his habit since the uptick in vaping-related illnesses.
“Not every oil company is bad, it really has to do with how you make them,” Chatham said.