Health officials in 2019 blamed vaping for a rash of respiratory illnesses in the United States. News reports across the nation focused on the dangers of vaping and how it was harming teens and young adults. Sadly, they didn’t provide this same coverage when it was learned that the illnesses and deaths actually occurred in individuals making use of products, they mixed themselves or purchased on the black market. These products contained THC and other substances that brought about the lung injuries. Why is this important?
Medical professionals first identified EVALI or e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injuries in 2019. They initially referred to the diseases as VAPI or vaping associated pulmonary illnesses but felt a name change was needed due to the number of severe illnesses presenting in their facilities. At that time, they blamed all vape products for bringing about these illnesses, and news agencies across the country were quick to blame these products and demand for the regulation or ban. However, doctors later learned that individuals presenting with these illnesses overwhelmingly made use of products containing vitamin E acetate. Some e-cigarettes containing THC include this additive, which they determined was responsible for most if not all of these injuries. These illicit products were what led to the lung disease outbreak, and men and women can learn more about reputable products by visiting indejuice.com.
Most individuals presenting with the illness were young adults suffering from coughing, fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, and fatigue. When investigating the possible causes for the illnesses, they learned about the use of these unregulated products, including do-it-yourself e-liquids and marijuana-based products. When creating these mixtures, many people use vitamin E acetate, as it serves as a thickening agent. This led to the United States Food and Drug Administration putting out a warning about vaping THC.
Vape products in America and the United Kingdom are regulated, but the United States government has yet to legalize recreational marijuana. Individuals wishing to vape cannabis must purchase items on the black market, as they don’t have a legal option. Sadly, cannabis products purchased on the street haven’t undergone testing and they aren’t regulated. Contamination becomes a concern as a result. This isn’t the case with products purchased through a reputable supplier.
Health officials in both countries say regulated products remain safe for use, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb explains the United States government has gone to great efforts to reassure individuals of this. Dr. Gottlieb formerly served as the chief of the United States Food and Drug Administration. On Twitter, Dr. Gottlieb explained the FDA began relating legal vapes in August 2017 and has since conducted countless inspections of vape retailers and manufacturers. In addition, the agency shared manufacturing guidance and has worked to remove products deemed unsafe from the market. It also publishes lists of ingredients known to be dangerous, so consumers can make informed decisions regarding which products to buy.
The United Kingdom followed suit, and Public Health England continues to reassure vapers that this activity remains safe when products are obtained through reputable sources. In fact, this agency went so far as to say vaping remains 95 percent less dangerous than smoking tobacco products. Nevertheless, Martin Dockrell, the head of Tobacco Control at PHE, warns vapers to only purchase vape and e-cigarette products that are tightly regulated. He points out that illicit vaping fluids appear to be the main source of EVALI cases, and they need to be avoided at all costs.
The Safety of Electronic Cigarettes
Dockrell says e-cigarettes come with significantly less risk than tobacco cigarettes. He says smokers find it much easier to successfully kick their tobacco habit when they make the switch to vaping rather than quitting cold turkey and relying on willpower alone. However, he emphasizes the importance of using regulated e-liquid rather than illicit or home-made juices. Furthermore, he recommends never adding substances to the e-liquid, as doing so could be harmful.
Professor Linda Bauld serves as a public health expert at Edinburgh University. She agrees with Dockrell, stating widely available vape products that contain nicotine likely aren’t causing these illnesses. She advises using products regulated in Europe for this reason and recommends avoiding illicit cannabis vaping products, often referred to as THC oils. According to Professor Bauld, a compound known as tocopherol acetate appears to be the cause behind these illnesses. This substance doesn’t appear in regulated products in the UK, so users feel confident vaping. They know doing so serves as a better alternative to smoking.
Experts have criticized the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the American Medical Association for urging individuals to give up vaping. Gregory Conley serves as the president of the American Vaping Association. He believes the American Medical Association is fear mongering and linking all vaping products together. In doing so, it downplays the safety of nicotine vaping products without warning consumers of the dangers of using illicit THC products.
Critics go on to say the blanket advice provided by the CDC encourages smokers to continue with their tobacco habit. This advice doesn’t prevent additional hospitalizations in people who vape illicit THC products. Men and women must know the facts if they are going to make informed decisions regarding which products are better for their health and which need to be avoided.
Dr. Michael Siegel, an American public health expert, works at the Boston University School of Public Health as a doctor and researcher. He feels American government agencies are acting irresponsibly. Millions of individuals benefit from the use of vaping products containing nicotine. It wouldn’t be smart for them to pick up their tobacco habit again simply to avoid contracting a lung disease that is both unknown and mysterious, according to Dr. Siegel. He feels they need to be given a specific, identifiable risk so they can make informed decisions and change their behavior when needed.
Individuals who vape need to take care when purchasing products. Only buy from reputable suppliers and know what is in the products being used. Men and women who take these steps find they can vape safely with little risk to their health. It appears that it is only when they use illicit sources to obtain products that problems arise.