Agency’s refusal to address specific products creates confusion.
It’s quite a scary and confusing time for members of the vaping community and the vaping industry at large. In recent weeks there have been several breakouts of illnesses vaguely connected to “vaping” popping up throughout the country, mainly affecting young adults.
Following the death of a teen over the weekend from one of these cases, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have decided to take a hard-line stance against vaping. The agency issued a vaguely worded warning targeting vaping in general, as well as failing to single out any specific products that may be causing these illnesses.
Public health officials at the agency have defended the move as they claim their investigation is still ongoing and they are currently unable to pinpoint any single cause of the outbreaks. Members of the vaping community have noted several reports linking these cases to black-market THC oil cartridges, and urge the agency to be more specific in their messaging and targeting to avoid confusion.
These reports come during a heated global public health debate surrounding the vaping industry, with plenty of misinformation being sewn by health organizations. By not addressing reports of black market THC oil carts and targeting e-liquid vaping products instead, the agency may be placing more teens lives at risk by not letting them know exactly which products to avoid.
Crusade Against Vaping
The CDC has officially reported 193 cases of acute lung disease attributed to “vaping” throughout 22 states. These diseases have taken the form of lipoid pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and chemical pneumonitis.
Following the death of a teen over the weekend, the CDC issued a statement on the matter warning teens against vaping. The statement attributes the death to “e-cigarette or ‘vaping’ devices” and goes on to specifically address traditional e-liquid based vapor products and devices without even mentioning the possibility of black market THC oil cartridges being a potential cause.
These black-market cartridges are often produced using mysterious cutting agents and low-quality marijuana deemed unfit for sale or usable for other extracts. It should be noted that all 21 cases of lung disease reported in California were attributed to these cartridges and a case report published in January of this year attributed an instance of acute lung disease to the use of butane hash oil.
Lipid pneumonia is a severe, acute lung disease that has been known to be caused by oil inhalation. Nicotine containing e-liquid products contain various ratios of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which pose no risk of causing lipoid pneumonia.
Safety Of Vaping
Misinformation regarding e-liquid vaping places the public at risk by deterring smokers looking for a proven alternative to help them quit. In a survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health, researchers found only 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with a staggering 26% saying it’s just as bad if not worse.
Vaping has been repeatedly proven as a safe smoking cessation device and reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. In independent case studies conducted by Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers had found vaping to be 95% safer and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
A study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences had found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer in comparison to smokers. The study also concluded that particulate matter produced by vapor were less harmful than particulate matter produced by smoke.
Researchers from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation tool available today. The study concluded vaping was even more effective than prescription options such as Chantix.
The CDC’s anti-vaping stance and attempts to link these illnesses to nicotine vaping threatens to undermine years of work by tobacco-control and anti-smoking activists. The agency places teens at risk by not properly informing them of all potential causes of these illnesses. Instead, they’re led into believing nicotine vaping is to blame and not the illegal THC oil carts.
This kind of fear-mongering misinformation is often parroted by anti-vaping activists as evidence for their arguments. These organizations then attempt to sway concerned and ill-informed parents to their side, as well as lobby lawmakers to pass legislation restricting access to vaping to adults.
The CDC should be clear and focused in their messaging. Vaguely attacking e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping is counterproductive when evidence suggests black market THC oil cartridges are to blame. Teenagers are far more likely to have access to and experiment with these black-market cartridges, especially when the broader industry is regulated too harshly.
By not informing the public these may be the culprit behind the outbreaks, teens may continue to use these illegal cartridges believing they’re safe and not understanding the inherent risk in continuing to do so. Attacking nicotine vaping creates a negative association and image that may deter adult smokers looking for a safe and proven alternative to help them quit.
Do you believe black market THC oil cartridges are responsible for these mysterious outbreaks? Is the CDC acting irresponsibly in its messaging by attacking e-cigarettes and vaping at large? What’s the most important part about vaping to you? Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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