What is causing the US vaping illnesses?
Concerned about the recent sensational headlines appearing in the media warning that “vaping” has been the cause of some clusters of serious respiratory illnesses in the US?
The media is using the term ‘’vaping’’ and stating concerns around ‘’e-cigarettes’’ without making it clear that it is what is being vaped that is of concern.
Evidence is currently suggesting that this cluster of US illnesses have been caused by the use of black market cannabis products, not by vaping nicotine e-liquid.
The IBVTA, the trade organisation for all responsible and ethical independent vape businesses in the UK has published an article 'Confused vaping stories that cost lives' (Aug 28, 2019) to clarify the what is really happening.
Below are some excerpt statements made by health and public health professionals in areas that have seen these outbreaks of illnesses. The statements mention the use of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) oil or other cannabidiols (Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in cannabis-derived from the hemp plant).
THC is a cannabinoid which gives the user a ‘’high’’ and the new slang term that is used to describe the inhalation of cannabidiols in vape-like devices designed for this purpose is "dabbing". This is not the same activity as using an e-cigarette with e-liquids made for vaping nicotine and bases like propylene glycol.
"All cases still under investigation have been hospitalised with severe breathing problems after vaping, including cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. NMDOH, other states, and the Centres for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) are still investigating the possible causes of these illnesses. Cases have been reported vaping or dabbing (vaping marijuana oils, extracts, or concentrates) in the weeks prior to hospital admission". – New Mexico Department of Health, 21st August
"According to the Indiana State Department of Health people are suffering from severe acute respiratory illnesses caused by substances used to vape. Indiana is investigating 11 cases. Dr Estes said vaping isn’t necessarily the problem. ‘’Probably not directly correlated to the vaping itself opposed to what these individuals are vaping’’ Said Estes. The Health Department said these cases are a result of dabbing. A new way many people are smoking marijuana, using oils, extracts or concentrates." – Dr Marc Estes, Indiana State Department of Health, 19th August
"After their health further deteriorated, doctors determined that patients instead had a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, and the cause was something surprising," said Kings County public health officer Dr Milton Teske. "The only connecting factor that tied them all together was a history of vaping THC or CBD or some combination of that’’, Teske Said, referring to compounds in marijuana." – Dr Milton Teske, Kings County Public Health Department, California 21st August.
Read the full IBVTA article here (Liberty Flights is a member of the IBVTA).
Further reading, we recommend reading a recent post from one of the worlds leading e-cigarette researchers, Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos "The emotional and irrational hysteria in the US about the “vaping-related” (or cannabis-related?) lung disease that goes far beyond confirmation bias"