WHAT IT IS, WHATS CAUSING IT, AND WHERE ITS GOING.
Ban on flavored e-cigs, ban on vape, ban on additives. Whats the root of the issue? Wheres this hysteria stemming from? To summarize this article, its coming from a few places and there is a lot of confusion around it. There are two main causes of hysteria around vaping at the moment; e-cigarettes use in minors and vape related illness and death from an unknown cause.
Lets start with the flavor ban on e-cigs. The fist ever commercially successful electronic cigarette was created in 2003 by Hon Lik, a 52 year old pharmacist, inventor and smoker after his father, a heavy smoker, died from lung cancer. Since then, officials have gone back and forth on the legalization and harmfulness of e-cigarettes. Some research points to e-cigarettes and vape to be better for you than combustable cigarettes while others claim their harmfulness to be the same.
In 2015, Juul took over the market of e-cigarettes and now nearly accounts for 72% of the market share. Issues began to arise for them in 2018 when the FDA asked Juul for documents around the marketing of its products claiming that they were marketing to youth through flavors, packaging, and health claims that were not verified with substantial evidence or studies.
Meanwhile, the vaping method continued to grow in the cannabis industry. The use of THC and CBD vape pens exploded due to its discreetness and convenience. In states where THC is recreationally or medicinally legal, the products must be approved by the FDA before legal sales can be made. For CBD, its a little bit more complex than that. CBD that is derived from industrial hemp is considered a __ and technically falls under the area of being a “supplement” similar to your vitamins and protein powders. This class of products does not need to be approved by the FDA leaving it in a very, very unfortunate gray area.
As per usual, the black market saw the opportunity and popularity of the THC vape business and adopted the method. With no regulation or record of ingredients in the THC oil sold, black market manufactures are able to add cheap and harmful additives to thicken the oil. A derivative of vitamin E called vitamin e acetate, an oil that is not approved by the FDA as a safe additive, was found in most of the THC vape pens used by patients suffering from vaping illness.
The vape illnesses started and seemed to explode over night. As of October 8, 2019, 1,299* lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, have been reported to CDC, and twenty-six deaths have been confirmed in 21 states. In early November 2019, the CDC announced that they have detected the chemical compound vitamin E acetate in all the samples of lung fluid collected from 29 patients who were hospitalized after vaping, suggesting a possible culprit for the spate of lung injuries that has swept across the U.S.
The only conclusions to report on at the moment, as frustrating as it sounds, is there is simply not enough information. The CDC has issued numerous warnings since the outbreak began, including advising people not to vape any products that contain THC. It also recommends not buying vaping products off the street and not making any modifications to a vaping device unless the manufacturer intends for it to be changed. The bans on Juul and e-cigarettes are stemming from the youth crisis and the deaths and illnesses are stemming from the potential health risks of additives in vaping products. Consumers who choose to continue vaping should due their research on their products, ask for lab testing, buy only legal products, and consume at their own risk.
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