Vaping Harmful or Harmless?
At a time when cigarette smoking was frowned upon, illegalized publicly, discouraged and on the brink of extinction, vaping seemed it’s harmless albeit annoying cousin and a (good enough) compromise for those in need of a nicotine fix.
The CDC and the FDA have set their sights on vaping since the first confirmed death of a Chicago, man in August 2019 was attributed to the popularized practice and “healthier alternative” to cigarette smoking of today’s youth. Since then, another 33 confirmed vaping deaths have been reported.
Additionally, it’s been documented that about 1479 people in 49 states have contracted severe respiratory diseases following vaping according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials at the CDC have said that the root cause of these so-called “potential cases” is yet to be identified and that investigations are still in progress.
According to the CDC this is what they know about vaping:
- As of October 15, 2019, 1,479* lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported to CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and 1 U.S. territory.
- Thirty-three deaths have been confirmed in 24 states.
- All patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
- We do know that THC is present in most of the samples tested by FDA to date, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing products.
- The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.
- As such, we recommend that you should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC.
- Since the specific causes or causes of lung injury are not yet known, the only way to assure that you are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products
- The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, products is unsafe for all ages, including youth and young adults. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
What the FDA nor CDC not yet know:
- At this time, FDA and CDC have not identified the cause or causes of the lung injuries in these cases, and the only commonality among all cases is that patients report the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
- No one compound or ingredient has emerged as the cause of these illnesses to date; and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation. The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time.
In trying to discover the reason for this sudden outbreak the CDC has studied the commonality of each case to get to the root. The CDC suspects that additives are the cause. Especially oils containing THC seems to be a principal key, or otherwise known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives. THC is the psychoactive mind-altering compound of marijuana that produces the “high”.
In order to avoid lung damage and until more conclusive findings are sought the CDC and FDC recommend refraining from vaping all together. Or, at the very least abstain from additives containing THC or CBD. Also, if you have any respiratory symptoms or ailments to see your doctor immediately. And, do not return to cigarette smoking as this could further damage the lungs.