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Mountain Vapor Blog

Welcome to the blog area of our site where we hope to keep you updated on the trends of the e-cigarette industry as well as product reviews.

E-Cigarettes are a Gateway to Smoking, so as Teen Vaping Dramatically Increased from 21% to 28%, Smoking Plummeted to Lowest Historical Level



Countering the claims of anti-nicotine groups that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, data released yesterday from the National Youth Tobacco Survey indicate that while the rates of teen vaping continued to increase dramatically (from 21% in 2018 to 28% in 2019 and from 12% to 28% from 2017-2019), the rate of decline in youth smoking accelerated in 2019, dropping to its lowest level in recorded history.If vaping was a gateway to smoking among youth, one would expect to see some sort of positive correlation between youth vaping rates and youth smoking rates. And in fact, there is a HUGE correlation between the rates of youth vaping and youth smoking during the period 2011-2019.The Rest of the StoryTo cut to the chase, the rest of the story is that there is indeed a huge correlation between the rates of youth vaping and the rates of youth smoking, which is at the very high level of 0.89. In fact, this is about as close to a perfect correlation as you can get with public health surveillance data.So, you say, this proves - beyond a doubt - that the anti-nicotine groups were right and that e-cigarettes are a gateway to youth smoking.There's just one thing I forgot to tell you ...... I forgot the minus sign.The correlation between the youth vaping and youth smoking rates during this decade is actually --0.89 (that's NEGATIVE 0.89).Here is the scatter plot (the smoking rate is the x-axis; the vaping rate is the y-axis):As you can see, there is a dramatic relationship here. The lower the vaping rate, the higher the smoking rate. And the higher the vaping rate, the lower the smoking rate.In other words, these data show that vaping is supplanting smoking, not supporting it. Vaping culture is not being transformed into smoking culture. It's exactly the opposite. Vaping culture is almost completely replacing smoking culture.Thus, the truth is that e-cigarettes are not leading to an increase in youth smoking. E-cigarettes are actually accelerating the trend of declining youth smoking.If you actually stop to talk to kids, they will tell you this. I do educational workshops with youths who are caught vaping or Juuling. And they repeatedly tell me - especially the Juulers - that they wouldn't even think about putting a cigarette in their mouths. They think it's disgusting. And that's a huge part of the appeal of the Juul - a cutting edge, modern, cool device that looks like a flash drive and allows you to emit a cool vapor cloud that dissipates almost instantly.The rest of the story is that vaping is not leading youth to smoking. Instead, what the data tell us is that a vaping culture is further decimating a smoking culture that is already on the decline.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Tobacco Financial Analysts: Flavored E-Cigarette Ban Will Substantially Boost Cigarette Sales

Due primarily to the CDC's hiding the fact that the overwhelming majority, if not all of the cases of "vaping-associated pulmonary illness (VAPI)" are most likely caused by vaping marijuana, not e-cigarettes, the Trump Administration and the FDA are poised to ban all flavored e-cigarettes.This obviously makes no sense at all.The logic is basically: Product X is causing a severe disease outbreak. Product Y is not. So we are going to immediately ban Product Y.The CDC has taken it a step further. They are essentially warning the public not to use "products," rather than telling them not use Product X.I have argued that a flavored e-cigarette ban would drive masses of ex-smokers from vaping back to smoking. This prediction now seems to be confirmed by a number of tobacco financial analysts, who are alerting investors that such a ban would substantially boost the sale of cigarettes while decimating the e-cigarette market, which has nearly doubled in the past year. It is predicted that nearly all of the declines in vaping will be translated into cigarette smoking.The Rest of the StoryThis may be the best evidence yet that the FDA's flavored e-cigarette ban will result in a substantial increase in smoking-related morbidity and mortality.There is no question that there is a direct link between the level of cigarette consumption in the U.S. and the number of smoking-related deaths. If cigarette consumption rises, then so does the number of deaths.The rest of the story is that the health groups calling for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes are also calling for a dramatic increase in smoking rates and in the number of smoking-related deaths.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Heads Up – News – Updates 9.11.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
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Trump Administration’s Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes Does More Harm

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
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Tobacco Companies’ Best Friends



Anti-tobacco activists portray themselves as enemies of “Big Tobacco,” so they naturally characterize the current panic about vaping among American teens as a new campaign by the industry.  This is fundamentally wrong, according to David Sweanor, a veteran anti-smoking advocate and chair of the advisory board for the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa.  In the following guest blog, Sweanor suggests that the war against vaping is cigarette manufacturers’ best hope for a lucrative future. The presence of the tobacco industry plays a huge role in discussions on tobacco harm reduction and disruptive technology, but I have long found that those who think they are that industry’s greatest enemies are often among its biggest enablers. Yet understanding the fundamentals in play should not be so hard. We can start with what the financial markets appear to think of the state of these companies, which is seen in the 5-year stock price charts at left. In early 2017, the combined value of the FT500 tobacco companies (PMI, BAT/Reynolds, Altria, Japan Tobacco, Imperial and ITC) surpassed US$700 billion. That was a continuation of a longstanding skyward march of these companies as they benefitted from their ‘nicotine maintenance monopoly’ and raised prices in a cartel-like fashion. Recently the combined value was down to US$372 billion. In looking at their stock charts we can see clearly when disruption started to bite. This makes sense when we consider that those valuations are the present value of future anticipated earnings. So long as the companies can, as in the US, make cigarettes for 28 cents a pack and sell them, pre-taxes etc., for over $2.00, and keep raising their prices aggressively, and price elasticity is low, it is a licence to print money. Regulatory barriers thwarting competition keep them secure. But just as OPEC’s cartel invited alternative sources of energy and taxi cartels created an opportunity for Uber, the nicotine market has long been at risk of disruption, of true competition breaking out. The global cigarette market, at well over $US800 billion annually, huge profit margins, high tax burdens putting them at a price disadvantage, and unhappy customers, creates a tempting target. Regulations, public misinformation, actions by self-styled anti-tobacco groups, and technological challenges protect the cartel. But that protection is no longer assured and buying shares in Big Tobacco today starts to look a bit like buying into New York City taxi medallions just as Uber was getting launched. The idea that cigarette companies welcome this disruption flies in the face of their stock prices. Yet many in the tobacco control field seem convinced that whatever happens with new technology Big Tobacco will win because, well, they have long dominated the market. Leaving aside that the market apparently disagrees, this is worth thinking about. Disruption has hit a great many businesses over a very long time. Would anyone care to list all the market-dominating companies that did well from such disruption? They typically get blown away, and for very good reasons. They are large, bureaucratic and risk-averse, and have much to lose if they make mistakes. They also typically lack the expertise in the emerging technologies and are held back by those in the company who are committed to the status quo. Meanwhile, lots of start-ups can compete for the emerging market with little to lose but huge upside if they are ultimate winners. Horse breeders did not come to dominate the tractor business, nor horseless carriages. IBM missed out on software, Microsoft on social media, the Yellow Pages on internet search, NYC taxi medallion owners were not the backers of Uber. Then there were makers of rotary dial phones, beat by the likes of Motorola, in turn beaten by the likes of Nokia, which was trounced by BlackBerry, which in turn lost out to Samsung and Apple.  The list of big, established, market-dominating companies ‘doing a Kodak’ is very, very long. Also, if Big Tobacco really wanted to facilitate a rapid transition to low risk products they would act very differently. They are, after all, in possession of the best market intelligence. They know what happens when vape products compete directly with cigarettes. They know how many smokers would seriously try to switch if adequately informed about relative risks, and they know how things like risk-proportionate regulation and taxation is likely to impact the markets. But they stay pretty quiet. I think it is helpful to think of Big Tobacco and alternative nicotine the way we would think of the House of Saud and alternatives to fossil fuels. Big Tobacco must prepare as best they can for a market they think is fundamentally changing. They must sound like they are very supportive, for public relation and legal liability reasons. But the slower the transition, the longer they can reap the rewards of their exceedingly lucrative cartel. Substituting market intelligence for the current ‘if they seem to want to do it, we will oppose it’ thinking, and the application of some strategy could lead to some quite extraordinary breakthroughs. Original author: Brad Rodu
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In Completely Irresponsible and Negligent Message, American Lung Association Warns against E-Cigarette Use, but Not against Vaping THC

In response to the alarming outbreak of severe, acute respiratory disease that has now affected more than 450 people in 33 states and has killed six people, the American Lung Association issued a statement yesterday stating that no one should continue using electronic cigarettes, which it says can cause "irreversible lung damage." According to the statement: "E-cigarettes are not safe and can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease. No one should use e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product. This message is even more urgent today following the increasing reports of vaping-related illnesses and deaths nationwide."The Rest of the StoryThis is an irresponsible and I believe negligent message that is going to cause a lot of harm. By hiding from the public the fact that the overwhelming majority of cases have been associated not with electronic cigarettes, but with the vaping of marijuana, this message is actually going to result in many youth continuing to vape THC products.Rather than tell the truth and issue a clear and unequivocal warning that people should stop vaping THC vape cartridges, this message to avoid e-cigarettes is not only failing to prevent further cases of the disease, but it is essentially going to cause more diseases because youth are going to be misled into thinking that the risk is associated with e-cigarettes, not vaped marijuana.Furthermore, banning flavored e-cigarettes, as the White House is apparently considering, would not doing anything to stem the outbreak, since e-cigarettes do not appear to be causing the outbreak. Instead, a ban on flavored e-cigarettes would lead many ex-smokers to go back to smoking.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are Lying to the Public

Whether one supports or opposes a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, I would hope we would all agree that it is unethical to lie to the public in order to support one's position. But that is exactly what Mayor Bloomberg and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have done in an op-ed they published today in the New York Times.The op-ed states: "Any adult knows that if you want to get a child’s attention, there is no enticement like candy. This currency of youth has become the weapon of choice for tobacco companies. They are making huge investments in nicotine-loaded e-cigarettes and selling them in a rainbow of sweet and fruity flavors like cotton candy, gummy bear, mango and mint."It is simply not true that the tobacco companies are selling electronic cigarettes in cotton candy or gummy bear flavors. Those flavors are certainly on the market, but they are not being sold by tobacco companies. In the U.S., there are four major brands of electronic cigarettes that are sold, at least in part, by tobacco companies: Juul, blu, Logic, and Vuse. While each of these brands has flavored e-liquids or pods, none of them sells gummy bear or cotton candy flavors.The Rest of the StoryWhy is it necessary to lie to make the point that tobacco companies are selling e-liquids in flavors that are attractive to youth?I don't understand this. I have worked in the tobacco control movement for 34 years and have been involved in numerous public campaigns against the tobacco industry and tobacco products. But never have I lied about the facts in order to try to support my policy positions.Honesty and transparency are important ethical values in the practice of public health. We shouldn't flush them down the sink just to try to make a more jarring appeal to the public. The truth should be enough.Beyond this lie, the piece is misleading in tying the respiratory disease outbreak that has affected more than 450 people and caused five deaths to electronic cigarettes. By the CDC's own admission, 80% of the cases have been tied to vaping illicit marijuana/THC cartridges, not legal e-cigarettes. It is disingenuous and frankly, dishonest, to suggest to the public that this terrible outbreak is being caused by e-cigarettes, when there is no solid evidence to back up that claim.As I have pointed out before, youth are understandably reluctant to report illicit use of marijuana vape cartridges purchased off the black market, so it is quite possible that there is a significant amount of under-reporting. Because of this under-reporting, it is possible that all of the cases are associated with e-cannabis rather than e-cigarettes.We live at a time when some politicians have no trouble simply making up the facts as they go along to support their positions. Public health organizations should not be doing the same thing.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Heads Up – News – Updates 9.10.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
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Pieces of the Mysterious Lung Disease Puzzle Starting to Come Together, But CDC Continues to Endanger Health by Hiding the Critical Pieces

The pieces of the puzzle of what is causing the "mysterious" outbreak of acute, severe lung disease among more than 450 people--mostly youth and young adults--are starting to come together. Yesterday, new cases of this illness were reported in at least three states. They were said to be associated with "vaping." However, if you read the fine print, it turns out that all of these cases were associated with the use of black market THC vaping cartridges.Georgia Public Radio announced two new cases of "vaping-related illness" in the state of Georgia. If you read down further in the article, you'll find out that "Both cases have a history of vaping, including THC."The Lake County News-Sun announced a new case of respiratory illness in Illinois caused by the use of "electric cigarettes." If you read further down, you'll find out that the patient admitted that last year, he "began smoking sold-on-the-street 'dab sticks,' THC-filled devices made for e-cigs."WSB-TV in Atlanta reported a new case of "vaping-related" respiratory illness in Georgia. If you read a little further down in the article, you'll find out that "he had recently vaped a liquid cannabis product."The more cases that are closely examined, the more clear it becomes that this outbreak is primarily, if not entirely, explained by the vaping of illicit, black market THC cartridges.  Importantly today, another piece of the puzzle came together. One of the inconsistent pieces of the puzzle was that although most of the cases appeared to be associated with black market THC cartridges, there was one death in Oregon that was reportedly associated with a THC vaping product purchased from a licensed dispensary. How could that have happened? Well today that mystery may have been solved. A leading Oregon cannabis extraction company revealed that just this spring, it began selling THC cartridges that had been cut with vitamin E acetate oil. The product was apparently approved by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) for use in legal recreational marijuana products sold at licensed dispensaries in the state.Furthermore, the owner of this company explained that recently, there was a "revolutionary" change: the widespread introduction of a new diluent thickening agent (a vitamin E acetate oil) that was soon adopted "everywhere." As explained in Willamette Week: "Jones is a leading figure in one of the most lucrative segments of the cannabis industry: butane hash oil, the honeylike distilled essence of cannabis plants. That extract can be used in vaporizer pens. He claimed in 2017 that he was making millions of dollars from the machine, called "Mr. Extractor," used to extract the hash oil. ... Jones writes that a Los Angeles-based company called HoneyCut first revolutionized diluent thickeners. He writes that these products have become hugely popular. "Through our research and testing we have found that almost every terpene and flavor manufacturer in the country is selling their version of Tocopheryl Acetate," Jones writes. Jones writes that when he met with the OLCC in the spring, he expressed to them that these additives would be "everywhere" within the next six months. ... Jones also writes that many of these diluent thickening products are now available through wholesale retailers online." In light of the recent outbreak, Jones' company has discontinued the use of its vitamin E acetate product and apparently all other diluents. The Rest of the StoryAlthough the cause of this outbreak is becoming clearer and clearer, the CDC's messages to the public are becoming vaguer and vaguer. Instead of honing in on the importance of youth immediately stopping the use of black market THC vape cartridges, the CDC is instead continuing to put the blame on vaping in general, including electronic cigarettes manufactured by legally by reputable companies. The CDC is deviating from standard protocol used in disease outbreak investigations and health emergencies, and I believe this is because they have such a bias against electronic cigarettes that they refuse to let this opportunity to further demonize e-cigarettes go by, even though the evidence points in a completely different direction.Not only is this putting the lives of our nation's youth at risk because the CDC is not warning them about the risks of using THC vape cartridges, but it is leading to irresponsible and irrational public policy. Within the past few days, the governor of Michigan implemented a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes, and politicians in the states of New York and Delaware announced that they will introduce similar legislation in those states.These proposed flavored e-cigarette bans would be a public health disaster. They would result in thousands of ex-smokers returning to smoking as the products that are keeping them smoke-free are taken off the shelves. It would also create a new black market for e-cigarette products where one does not currently exist. And the most ironic result would be that in May 2020, when e-cigarettes in all of the other states fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA, these states' vaping products would be the only ones in the country that are unregulated. If this outbreak has taught us anything, it is the dangers posed by the black market. Who knows what kind of public health disasters lie ahead in Michigan and other states that ban e-cigarettes and then are hit with a huge black market for vaping products that are in extremely high demand by smokers and ex-smokers who want to protect their health.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Heads Up – News – Updates 9.9.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
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CDC's Obfuscation of Link Between Illicit THC Carts and Lung Disease Outbreak is Worsening the Situation and Probably Leading to More Cases

Instead of simply acknowledging that a large number of cases in the recent outbreak of severe, acute respiratory failure are due to black market THC vape carts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is undermining that key information and continuing to do everything it can to pin the outbreak on the use of traditional, nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes. Today, I provide three examples to show how the CDC's fraudulent conduct is causing state officials to issue inappropriate warnings that are almost certainly worsening the situation and leading to more cases of disease.1. Montana: Today, health officials in Montana issued a warning to state residents concerning the disease outbreak. This warning was reported by the state's Public News Service. Instead of informing the public that oil-laden THC vape carts are associated with most of the cases and should absolutely be avoided, the state health department's medical director told the public that we have no idea what is causing the outbreak and that everyone should simply stop vaping. According to the article, the state medical director stated: "We have something that has serious consequences and we don't know what's exactly going on. Protect yourself and stay away from these products at this time, until we have a better understanding. And hopefully, this would be a good time to stop using the products completely."This is not only blatantly inaccurate information but it is highly irresponsible. However, I don't completely blame the Montana health department because they are simply relaying information that originates from the top: from the CDC.Inexplicably and inexcusably, the warning does not even mention the words marijuana or THC. Hiding the fact that oil-laden THC vape carts are right now extremely dangerous to use is going to result in the continued use of these products by young people and result in further cases of the disease that could be prevented by simply telling the public the truth. Again, this stems from the CDC's obfuscation of the observed link between marijuana vaping and most of the cases. By hiding the truth, the CDC is essentially lying to the public. It is a lie of omission. And it is endangering the health of our nation's young people. 2. Ohio: Mirroring a line that it obtained directly from the CDC, a Cincinnati public radio story informed the public that: "no specific e-cigarette device or substance has been linked to the illnesses. While some patients used marijuana-based products, others used marijuana and nicotine products, and a smaller group reported using nicotine products only." This statement deliberately obscures the role of marijuana-based products with high oil content in inducing the majority of the observed cases, many of which have been confirmed to have been caused by lipoid pneumonia due to oil inhalation. Again, the media are simply mimicking what they are hearing from CDC, so I'm not blaming them. It is the CDC that is to blame for this inaccurate and irresponsible information.3. Tennessee: A story run by the NBC News Knoxville affiliate reports that six cases of the disease have been reported in the state. The story reports only that these cases are associated with the use of e-cigarettes. Nothing more specific than that. However, if you dig in more closely, you'll find that (in small print in a different article) a Knox County teenager who was hospitalized for a "vape-related" illness actually reported that what he was using was an illicit THC vape cart. As the teen explained: "You buy these from people off the streets. Anywhere. You can find these anywhere. People make these. They put, what I've heard, butane, lighter fluid, other chemicals and stuff inside of these."It is a shame that this teen appears to know more about the outbreak than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and that the warning he is giving is far more accurate and effective than the CDC's.I'm sure we could go down the list of all 50 states and demonstrate that they are all putting out inaccurate and irresponsible warnings. But this all stems from the top - from the CDC. That is why it is absolutely inexcusable that the agency continues to try to blame the outbreak on traditional, legal e-cigarettes, even in the face of overwhelming and compelling evidence that the primary (if only) culprit is illegal, black market marijuana vaping products being made by an illicit drug cartel that is making millions of dollars spreading this poison to our nation's youth through an elaborate distribution of network of drug dealers.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Leaked papers: WHO to intensify its pointless and destructive war against innovation – expect many dead

September 9th, 2019

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A Flood of Irresponsible Actions and Advice on Respiratory Disease Outbreak

There is a wave of irresponsible recommendations and actions that are taking place in response to the outbreak of more than 400 cases of severe, acute respiratory disease and five deaths that have occurred in the United States. Since there are far too many to write an individual commentary on each, I am combining three of the most important examples in this post.1. Dr. Thomas Eissenberg Implies that the Respiratory Disease Outbreak is being Caused by Traditional (nicotine-containing) Electronic CigarettesIn an op-ed piece in The Guardian entitled "Vaping Is Risky: Do Not Do It If You Care About Your Lungs," Dr. Thomas Eissenberg--a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University--advises the public to discontinue all vaping and ties the recent outbreak of severe, acute respiratory disease to nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes. He writes: "For the past seven years, a steady stream of scientific studies has uncovered potential health risks associated with vaping. These risks include nicotine dependence, airway injury, and cardiovascular disease. Now we must add debilitating lung disease to that list. Lipoid pneumonia is one such disease, probably caused by inhalation of oil-containing vapor: the body’s immune response to oil in the lungs involves inflammation that can be fatal."I find this to be irresponsible. It implies that lipoid pnemonia is being caused by traditional, nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and that these products are implicated in the respiratory disease outbreak. Most if not close to all traditional, nicotine-containing electronic cigarette liquids are not oil-based, but water and alcohol-based. They are nearly uniformly made up of some combination of propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine, and flavorings. Thus, there is little risk of lipoid pneumonia associated with traditional e-cigarettes.What is almost certainly causing the recently reported rash of lipoid pneumonia cases is the vaping of THC oils, which are - as the description suggests - oil-based products. While the regulated dispensaries that produce legal, recreational THC e-liquids for vaping generally implement complex procedures to eliminate oils from their products, black market manufacturers do not. This means that there are many bootleg marijuana vape pens and vape carts on the market that contain oils. These oils are not vaporized when heated because their boiling point tends to be above the temperatures achievable with the vaping pens. Instead, the liquid oil droplets are inhaled into the lung. This is a disastrous situation as the oil essentially coats the alveoli in the lungs and makes it impossible for the lungs to work. Macrophages (scavenger cells) try their best to get rid of the oil by encircling the droplets but not before the patient may experience respiratory failure. This is why when a patient with lipoid pneumonia undergoes a bronchoalveolar lavage, pathologists are able to detect "lipid-laden macrophages" in the lung cells. This has been a common feature of a large number of the observed cases in the outbreak, and the overwhelming majority of these cases are due to the vaping of illicit THC oils purchased off the black market.Lipoid pneumonia does not need to be added to the list of diseases caused by legal electronic cigarettes sold by stores or e-cigarette companies. It needs to be added to the list of diseases caused by vaping marijuana carts purchased from illegal drug dealers.Furthermore, the recommendation that every ex-smoker stop vaping if they care about their lungs is exactly the opposite of what we should be telling them. The most important thing you can do if you are an ex-smokers who has quit smoking is to not go back to smoking. But that is exactly what is going to happen to the overwhelming majority of ex-smoking vapers if they follow the advice provided in this op-ed. Yes, in an ideal world, one free of addiction, we would simply advise anyone using any drug to stop. But that doesn't really help us in the real world. In the real world of drug addiction, we have something called harm reduction. For people who are unable to immediately stop their drug use, we (public health practitioners) advise them to switch to an alternative that is much safer, even if it still involves addiction. For heroin users, it would be irresponsible to put out an op-ed saying: "Shooting Up with Heroin is Risky: Don't Do It If You Care About Your Health." Instead, what we do is everything in our power to recruit and encourage people addicted to heroin to get into treatment programs, most of which work by providing a safer alternative, such as methadone or another opiate agonist. For people who are addicted to smoking and cannot quit using traditional NRT or other drugs, we should be encouraging them to, not dissuading them from, switching to electronic cigarettes.2. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Urges All New Yorkers to Halt VapingIn an alert issued today, New York governor Andrew Cuomo urged everyone in the state to immediately stop vaping. As quoted in an NBC News article, Governor Cuomo stated: "There is an investigation ongoing. Nobody knows exactly what it is. There is some suggestion that is linked to Vitamin E, et cetera. Our health guidance is no one should be using vaping products, period, until we know what it is."This is inexcusably irresponsible in two ways:First, the governor completely undermines what we do know about the causes of the disease outbreak by substituting an explanation of the link between marijuana vaping and most of the disease cases and replacing it with a dismissive "et cetera." No - it is not "et cetera." It is the terribly serious and important information that the vast majority of cases of lung disease have been caused by vaping illicit THC oils purchased off the black market. There is simply no excuse for the governor to be hiding this information from the public.Second, for the reasons stated above, it is terrible advice to tell everyone to immediately stop vaping. Ex-smokers who have quit smoking by switching to vaping should absolutely continue vaping, because if they don't, they will almost certainly return to deadly cigarette smoking. These are people who are addicted to nicotine and are not simply going to stop using nicotine overnight because the governor tells them to. If they heed his advice, we are going to have a large increase in the number of smokers in the state of New York.Although the New York State Department of Health also issued the same warning, I am not blaming the department because it is quite clear that they were forced to do so by the governor. If there are any additional cases of respiratory disease in New York that result from young people using black market THC vape carts or vape pens, it is - as far as I'm concerned - partly on the shoulders of the governor, who bears some responsibility for those illnesses and if they occur, deaths.3. Senator Dick Durbin Blames the Outbreak on the FDA and Believes that the FDA Should Be Controlling and Preventing these DiseasesAccording to an article in The Hill, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has told the FDA commissioner to "stop this vaping epidemic" or resign. He was apparently referring to an alarming outbreak of severe respiratory diseases that have affected more than 400 (mostly) young people and caused five deaths. Durbin pointedly asked the FDA commissioner: "Will FDA act now that 193 people across 22 states have severe lung illness associated with e-cigarettes? Will FDA act now that a person in Illinois has died?"I think Senator Durbin should have done his homework and examined the scientific evidence regarding the cause of the 193 people having severe lung illnesses and the person in Illinois who has died. Right now, it appears that the major cause of this outbreak is the production and distribution by a small cartel of illegal drug manufacturers of illicit, bootleg THC oil-containing vape pens and carts. Thus, the FDA likely has nothing to do with this outbreak and there is really nothing that the FDA can do to prevent further cases. Why? Because the FDA does not have jurisdiction over the illegal production, distribution, and sale of illicit drugs. The FDA has jurisdiction over legal drugs, not illegal ones.In other words, Senator Durbin is turning his ire against the wrong person. Who Senator Durbin should be angry at, and who he should call into his office for an explanation, are the drug manufacturers and distributors who are running a multi-million dollar business out of producing and selling illicit THC cartridges for vaping that are being used by thousands of young people across the country who are obtaining these products on the black market.The FDA does not currently have any jurisdiction over these dealers. To the best of my knowledge, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) is probably the government agency with the most direct jurisdiction at this time. If Senator Durbin wants the FDA to try to get to the bottom of this, then what he should do is immediately introduce legislation to give the FDA jurisdiction over illicit cannabis product manufacturing, distribution, and sale. That's the only way that we are truly going to get to the bottom of this, unless the DEA is able to put an end to it.Original author: Michael Siegel
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The Most Telling Sign that CDC is Protecting Illicit Marijuana Drug Dealers While Doing Everything it Can to Pin this Outbreak on Traditional E-Cigarettes

It is clear to me that in its investigation of more than 400 cases of acute respiratory failure tied to the vaping of certain products, the CDC is doing everything it can to undermine the proven connection between most of these cases and illicit marijuana vape carts, while exaggerating a potential, but completely unproven connection with traditional electronic cigarettes.This was highlighted last Friday with the complete split between the FDA and CDC with respect to their public communications and warnings regarding the disease outbreak.The CDC is undermining the observed connection between black market THC/CBD oils and the majority of the reported cases as well as the finding of high levels of tocopherol acetate in many of the product samples provided by affected patients. The CDC's primary warning is to avoid electronic cigarettes and vaping altogether. This is tantamount to advising ex-smokers who quit by switching to vaping to return to smoking. This irresponsible advice completely ignores the principle of addiction and the lack of a clear and unambiguous warning not to use black market marijuana vape carts is inexcusable and puts youths' lives at risk.In contrast, the FDA has issued a specific and unequivocal warning not to use THC/CBD oils, especially black market vape carts. The FDA stated that: "consumers are urged to avoid buying vaping products on the street, and to refrain from using THC oil or modifying/adding any substances to products purchased in stores." Although the FDA noted that youth should not vape at all, they did not back down from or undermine the finding of tocopherol acetate in many of the tested samples. Unlike the CDC, the FDA did not issue a recommendation that ex-smokers who vape should return to smoking.Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has also been very clear in his Twitter communications, warning that: "Based on current reports it’s likely to be case most of the vaping injuries are related to illegal products and mostly THC and CBD." He also astutely pointed out that "permissive state laws on recreational THC and our conflicted attitude toward cannabis create a lot of risk. These products and vape pens sold to aerosolize stuff other than nicotine (and thus probably not regulated by FDA) fall into dangerous gap where there’s no proper oversight."Dr. Gottlieb also noted that: "Legitimate e-liquids are generally based on chemicals that are water soluble, not oils that can cause acute lung injury. High levels of vitamin E acetate were found in nearly all cannabis-containing vapes tested by NYS Department of Health. Nobody should use illegal vape products." I applaud Dr. Gottlieb for stepping in where CDC failed and providing helpful and specific recommendations based on the best available information at the present time.In contrast to Dr. Gottlieb, the CDC is actually undermining the connection between illicit THC oils and the outbreak. For example, they relentlessly emphasize that many of the patients who reported using THC oils also used "nicotine-containing products": "While many of the patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products, some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products." This completely undermines the previous phrase and downplays the connection between THC oils and the disease, while implying that traditional e-cigarettes are still a likely cause. They also mention that although vitamin E acetate was found in many of the samples, it was not found in every single one of them. Again, this undermines this important finding.Both of these examples of undermining the role of illegal THC vaping products are completely unnecessary and irrelevant. If THC oils are related to the disease, then it doesn't matter whether the patients also vaped traditional e-cigarettes. If THC oils are causing a large number of cases, then there is no need to invoke the traditional e-cigarettes, even though some patients are using multiple products. In addition, the CDC should know full well that in a disease outbreak investigation, you almost never find a single exposure that ties together every case. The fact that vitamin E acetate was not found in every sample does not eliminate its potential role. Nor does the fact that not every patient reported using THC oils eliminate the possibility that THC oils are responsible for the entirety of the outbreak. Despite the sharp deviation between CDC and FDA, the most telling sign that the CDC is intentionally protecting illicit marijuana drug dealers in its zeal to go after the legal e-cigarette industry is a glaring omission from its recommendations to clinicians that no one seems to have picked up on.The Rest of the StoryThe CDC issued a Health Alert Network alert which advises clinicians of what they should do with every suspected case.  Here is the entirety of the CDC's recommendations for clinicians: Recommendations for CliniciansReport cases of severe pulmonary disease of unclear etiology and a history of e-cigarette product use within the past 90 days to your state or local health department. Reporting of cases may help CDC and state health departments determine the cause or causes of these pulmonary illnesses.Ask all patients who report e-cigarette product use within the last 90 days about signs and symptoms of pulmonary illness.If e-cigarette product use is suspected as a possible etiology of a patient’s severe pulmonary disease, obtain detailed history regarding: Substance(s) used: nicotine, cannabinoids (e.g., marijuana, THC, THC concentrates, CBD, CBD oil, synthetic cannabinoids [e.g., K2 or spice], hash oil, Dank vapes), flavors, or other substancesSubstance source(s): commercially available liquids (i.e., bottles, cartridges, or pods), homemade liquids, and re-use of old cartridges or pods with homemade or commercially bought liquidsDevice(s) used: manufacturer; brand name; product name; model; serial number of the product, device, or e-liquid; if the device can be customized by the user; and any product modifications by the user (e.g., exposure of the atomizer or heating coil)Where the product(s) were purchasedMethod of substance use: aerosolization, dabbing, or drippingOther potential cases: sharing e-cigarette products (devices, liquids, refill pods, or cartridges) with othersDetermine if any remaining product, including devices and liquids, are available for testing. Testing can be coordinated with the local or state health departments.Consider all possible causes of illness in patients reporting respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms and of e-cigarette product use. Evaluate and treat for other possible causes of illness (e.g., infectious, rheumatologic, neoplastic) as clinically indicated. Consider consultation with specialists (pulmonary, infectious disease, critical care, medical toxicology) as appropriate.Clinical improvement of patients with severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette use has been reported with the use of corticosteroids. The decision to use corticosteroids should be made on a case-by-case basis based on risks and benefits and the likelihood of other etiologies.Lipoid pneumonia associated with inhalation of lipids in aerosols generated by e-cigarettes has been reported based on the detection of lipid-laden alveolar macrophages obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and lipid staining (e.g., oil red O). The decision about whether to perform a BAL should be based on individual clinical circumstances.Lung biopsies have been performed on some patients. If a lung biopsy is obtained, lipid staining may be considered during pathologic examination, and is best performed on fresh tissue. Routine pathology tissue processing (including formalin-fixation and paraffin-embedding) can remove lipids. Conducting routine tissue processing and histopathologic evaluation is still important. Consider consultation with specialists in pulmonary medicine and pathology to help inform any evaluation plan.Patients who have received treatment for severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette product use should undergo follow-up evaluation as clinically indicated to monitor pulmonary function.Do you see the glaring omission here? Do you see the omission that I think demonstrates that the CDC is actively attempting to decrease its ability to conclude that THC oils are causing these reported cases? The glaring omission in the CDC's recommendations for clinicians is that they failed to recommend that clinicians conduct a sensitive urine drug screen for THC in every patient. This is the only way to determine with reasonable accuracy whether a patient used a THC-containing product. Simply relying on self-reports is not sensitive enough because many youth will understandably hide the fact that they were using an illicit, black market drug that was essentially obtained from drug dealers. Every patient needs to be tested for THC. The failure to recommend this testing indicates to me that the CDC is not serious about really wanting to be able to invoke THC oils as a cause of these illnesses if they truly are the cause. By not recommending this testing, the CDC is ensuring that there is no way that THC will be implicated in every case. This, by definition, will leave open the possibility that traditional e-cigarettes are causing some of the cases, allowing the CDC to emphasize that people should not use e-cigarettes!The rest of the story is that the parameters that the CDC has established for its investigation will ensure that it has the ability to invoke electronic cigarettes as being a possible cause for the outbreak. This tells me that the CDC is more interested in protecting the illicit, underground THC vape cart black market than truly protecting the health of our nation's youth. Apparently, being able to continue to demonize electronic cigarettes is more of a priority.  Original author: Michael Siegel
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Consumer Advisory: If you are afraid of going back to smoking, seek out other smoke-free alternatives.

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: Alex Clark
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American Lung Association Criticizes CDC for Giving a Vague Warning on Respiratory Disease Outbreak; Then Issues a Warning that is Even More Vague

In a Politico article published today, the American Lung Association criticized the CDC for issuing too vague a warning regarding what people should do to avoid the "vaping"-associated outbreak of acute, severe respiratory disease.The American Lung Association was quoted as stating: "We know that it’s important with health communication to deliver very clear messaging, unambiguous meaning."The Rest of the StoryAt first, when I saw this quote, I thought that the American Lung Association was absolutely on-point with its criticism because the CDC has been far too vague by warning people not to use "e-cigarettes" generally instead of focusing on the illicit, bootleg marijuana vape carts that have been associated with the vast majority of the cases. However, I then read what the American Lung Association suggested as a less vague and more appropriate warning.It was: "Don't use these products.""These" products? What products? Ironically, while criticizing the CDC for being too vague and ambiguous, the American Lung Association is issuing a warning that is even more vague and more ambiguous. At least with the CDC warning, we have some idea of what products they are talking about, even though they are lumping together products that are clearly not responsible for the observed cases with those that are. But with the American Lung Association's warning, it is not even clear what products they are talking about. It would hard to be more vague or more ambiguous if you tried.In fact, the most recent warning posted on the American Lung Association's web site is almost as ambiguous. It states: "The American Lung Association has been raising the alarm about e-cigarettes and their use for more than a decade, and reiterates the recommendation that the public should not use any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes." Essentially, the American Lung Association's warning is "don't use e-cigarettes."The warning does not even mention that the majority of cases are linked not to e-cigarettes, but to e-marijuana. The words marijuana and THC do not even appear anywhere in the statement.Since the American Lung Association still seems to believe that we have no idea what is causing this outbreak, perhaps they should make their warning even more ambiguous:"Don't use products."This would actually be quite funny, except for the fact that people's lives are at risk, especially young people, among whom the prevalence of vaping marijuana is quite high.The American Lung Association is quite right when it states that "it’s important with health communication to deliver very clear messaging, unambiguous meaning." But maybe it should examine its own messages before criticizing others.Original author: Michael Siegel
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CDC Has No Problem Attacking Vaping Companies so Why are They Protecting the Marijuana Drug Cartel?

We now know that the majority of cases of the severe respiratory disease outbreak that has affected more than 300 people and resulted in three deaths across the United States are associated with the use of illicit, bootleg marijuana vape carts that are produced by what is most likely a relatively small cartel of illegal manufacturers. E-liquid samples from patients across multiple states have tested positive for tocopherol acetate and at high levels, with at least one sample reported to be comprised of 50% tocopherol acetate. The CDC itself reported today that a cluster of cases of lipoid pnemonia in North Carolina were all associated with the use of bootleg THC oils.In spite of this information, the CDC continues to avoid clearly warning the public not to vape THC oils! Instead, they are continuing to focus on all vaping products and their primary advice is still: "don't vape."Shockingly, in the CDC's most recent alert, the recommendations to the public do not include a specific warning against vaping marijuana vape carts. The CDC's primary warning is: "While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products." Moreover, nowhere in the paragraph that contains the CDC's recommendations do the words "marijuana" or "THC" even appear! Not even once.The CDC's failure to warn the public about vaping bootleg marijuana carts is unfortunately filtering down to nearly all reports regarding this outbreak. Even in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, today's featured article mimicked CDC in its recommendations. The primary recommendation was that the public should consider not using e-cigarettes. There was not a clear and specific warning to stringently avoid vaping illegal marijuana.The Rest of the StoryGiven what we now know, I find it completely irresponsible for the CDC to continue to obscure the truth and to continue to try to blame this outbreak on legal, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes that have been on the market for years and have not caused any previous problems, rather than to acknowledge that the vast majority of the cases seem to be due to the use of illegal marijuana vape carts.Why is the CDC going to such great lengths to try to demonize the vaping industry while protecting the illegal marijuana cartel that is producing and widely distributing unregulated THC carts that are apparently contaminated with high levels of a thickening agent that likely coats the lungs with oil and prevents the lungs from working?We do know that many of the cases are presenting as lipoid pneumonia, that lipid-laden macrophages are being detected in most of these presentations, and that recent changes in illicit vaping marijuana production has apparently resulted in the introduction of a large amount of an oil into THC vape carts that does not vaporize (except at extreme temperatures not achievable with most vape pens) and therefore, youth are inhaling liquid oil into their lungs which is retained. No wonder this is such an extremely dangerous situation and no wonder we are seeing such unexpectedly severe lung failure in these patients. I don't think this can be said to be a complete "mystery" any longer.In today's New England Journal article, it reports that of all reported cases in Illinois and Wisconsin in which patients were rigorously interviewed, 87% eventually admitted to vaping marijuana, not (just) nicotine e-liquids. It is certainly possible that most or all of the others were just reluctant to admit buying bootleg vape carts from drug dealers.While the CDC and other health groups are still trying as hard as they can to blame legal, retail e-cigarettes, it is difficult to understand two things: (1) what changed such that we are seeing such an enormous outbreak at this particular time? (2) since there is not one product implicated, how could there possibly be contamination of multiple brands of e-liquids when they are all manufactured at different facilities?We can potentially explain both of these with marijuana vaping. First, there was apparently a change made by the illicit marijuana vape cart manufacturers late last year and it appears that they started to use tocopherol acetate as a new thickening agent. One would expect that they would put a large amount of the agent into the cart because their chief goal is to make money. Second, the bootleg vape carts are apparently made by a very small number of manufacturers (possibly by one very large production in the Los Angeles area) and then distributed widely throughout the country. This would explain why we are seeing a multi-state outbreak with multiple products and brands. It is thought that the same contaminated THC oil may be used in multiple products, just packaged differently.I am by no means arguing that we can explain every single case and that no nicotine-containing e-liquid is involved. However, it is clear that this outbreak is primarily related to the illicit, wide distribution of dangerous THC oils by an illegal drug operation.The rest of the story is that the CDC is doing everything in its power to protect this illegal operation and to deflect blame onto the vaping companies. And the end result is that it is putting the lives of our youth at risk.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Heads Up – News – Updates 9.5.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
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ALERT: Major Breakthrough in Investigation of "Mysterious" Lung Disease Outbreak

There has been a major breakthrough in the investigation of the outbreak of more than 300 cases of a "mysterious" lung disease that the CDC and many other health agencies have told the public is due to the vaping of electronic cigarettes. And now, everything is starting to make some sense.Illicit THC vape carts that were obtained from a number of case patients that were tested in federal and state laboratories have tested positive for vitamin E acetate, an oil that just started to be used late last year as a thickening agent in bootleg THC vape carts. Apparently, for every single case in New York State for which testing is complete, vitamin E acetate was found in at least one of the THC vape carts that were used by the patient. Almost simultaneously, testing of recovered THC vape carts by the FDA revealed vitamin E acetate in 10 of 18 tested samples. Importantly, the FDA reported that it found no contamination in any of the nicotine e-liquids tested.The Rest of the StoryWhile there are still a lot of unknowns, the pieces of the puzzle are just beginning to fit together. One the great mysteries about this outbreak is "Why now?" Nicotine e-liquids have been on the market for many years and are being used by millions of vapers but there has never been a problem. Something must have changed to result in the outbreak occurring at this time. But what?Now there is a possible explanation: it turns out that there was a major change made in the bootleg THC vape cart drug dealing industry late last year. It appears that a new thickening agent started to be used in bootleg THC vape carts. Very possibly, that new agent was vitamin E acetate. Tocopherol acetate (the fancy name for vitamin E acetate) is a thickening agent that is typically used in cosmetics like skin cleansers. But late last year, it apparently began to be used for thickening the THC oil (presumably to hide the fact that it had been highly diluted, which is a clue to some buyers that they are not getting much product). Here is what leafly.com has to say:"Peter Hackett of Air Vapor Systems and Disinger and Heldreth of True Terpenes both mentioned the recent introduction of a novel diluent thickener called Honey Cut. The product swept through LA’s pen factories late last year. Honey Cut maintains a website, but the identity of the product manufacturer remains unknown, as does the chemical makeup of the substance. Leafly has made many attempts to reach officials at Honey Cut, but they have chosen not to respond.Honey Cut’s introduction last year proved so popular that competing products by other diluent makers soon began appearing."What was the new diluent thickener in Honey Cut?You guessed it ... tocopherol acetate.An insightful article at WebMD adds this information:"Investigators are also trying to figure out what may have changed in vape cartridges that could have triggered this rash of respiratory illnesses. According to David Downs, writing in the publication Leafly.com, a marijuana information source, underground sellers began using a new tasteless and odorless thickening agent in late 2018. Buyers often judge THC potency by its thickness.'This new additive may or may not play a role in the current health crisis,' writes Downs, Leafly's California bureau chief. 'But it is one of the major new ingredients in illegal vape cart oil in widespread use this summer.'"If tocopherol acetate is playing a role in the outbreak, it would help to explain why the observed lung illnesses are so severe and why the patients' lungs basically stop working. As explained in the Washington Post:"Vitamin E acetate is basically grease, said Michelle Francl, a chemistry professor at Bryn Mawr College. Its molecular structure means that “you have to heat it up pretty hot” for it to vaporize. Its boiling point is 363 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well above the 212 degree F boiling point for water, and nearly four times higher than normal human body temperature. Once the oil is heated hot enough to vaporize, it can potentially decompose and “now you’re breathing in who-knows-what,” Francl said. When that vapor cools down in the lungs, it returns to its original state at that temperature and pressure, she said, which means “it has now coated the inside of your lungs with that oil,” she said.It is not difficult to imagine why the lungs would stop working if they became coated with grease or oil.It will be interesting to see how long it takes the CDC to issue an unequivocal warning to the public that they should absolutely not vape marijuana using THC vape carts obtained off the street.This emerging story shows the dangers of bias in public health. The long-standing bias of the CDC against vaping has resulted in the agency failing to warn the public in clear and specific terms about the risks associated with the use of bootleg THC vape carts and instead, issuing warnings against "vaping" and "e-cigarettes" generally and making meaningless statements like "e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless water vapor."On my blog, I first issued a warning about the use of black market THC oils on August 25, and then on August 28 I blogged and tweeted an unequivocal warning, since the CDC had failed to do so. It is now 11 days later, and we are still waiting for the CDC, HHS, and other health groups to issue a clear and specific warning against the use of bootleg THC vape carts. We are still waiting for these groups to stop blaming the outbreak on vaping or on e-cigarettes. Although we cannot completely rule out any role of e-cigarettes, it now appears very unlikely that they have anything to do with the outbreak, which appears to be due to e-cannabis, not e-cigarettes.The truly unfortunate rest of the story is that in their zeal to demonize e-cigarettes, the CDC and other health agencies have put the lives of our nation's youth at risk. They should have issued a warning 11 days ago. During the past 11 days, how many youth continued to vape THC oils because of the failure of health agencies to accurately convey the known information about the potential causes of the outbreak? The CDC and other health agencies and some anti-tobacco groups have gone to great lengths to protect the illicit cannabis industry. But they have no problem with attacking the e-cigarette companies and telling ex-smokers to return to smoking rather than continuing to vape. Why?Original author: Michael Siegel
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Exploiting Outlier Lung Disease Cases Does a Disservice to Public Health



In her excellent August 28 USA Today articleon the recent emergence of vaping-related lung illnesses, Jayne O’Donnell noted that “Some state health department and news reports suggest many of the cases of lung problems involve tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes psychological effects.” I fully agree with Boston University’s Dr. Michael Siegel, who said, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being ‘unnecessarily vague’ about describing the injuries as simply vaping-related when many people might have been injured by vaping THC oil.”  As he and New York University public health professor Ray Niaura pointed out, millions of Americans have vaped nicotine e-liquids over the last ten years, yet no lung problems were reported until recently.  The sudden appearance of these cases and links to THC strongly suggest that contaminated street liquids are at fault, not legitimate retailers’ e-cigarettes or vape products. Despite this, as noted by Jacob Sullum, the CDC Office on Smoking and Health’s Dr. Brian King focused his public remarks primarily on a purported general link between e-cigarettes and vapor products with lung disease: “So there’s a variety of harmful ingredients identified, including things like ultrafine particulates, heavy metals like lead and cancer causing chemicals. And flavoring used in e-cigarettes to give it a buttery flavor.  Diacetyl and it’s been related to severe respiratory illness.  That being said we haven’t specifically linked any of those specific ingredients to the current cases but we know that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless…But the bottom line is there’s a variety of things in e-cigarette aerosol that could have implications for lung health.  A review recently identified a number of adverse health effects associated with e-cigarette use.”   Dr. Siegel excoriated federal officials for this approach: “In a disease outbreak such as this one, responsible public warnings need to be as specific as possible about the risk. In an outbreak of E. coli caused by a contaminated batch of lettuce, we don't tell the public that the disease is associated with eating, or even that it is associated with eating lettuce. People need much more specific guidance if they are to take appropriate action to avoid or reduce the risk of further spread of the outbreak. “Here, we need to start telling the public the truth. However much physicians or anti-nicotine groups may not like it, the truth is that the outbreak we are seeing is not due to the risks of using standard vaping products. It appears much more likely that the outbreak is mostly, if not completely attributable to illicit products--especially THC extracts--that are being sold by unlicensed sellers on the black market. Unless people are provided with this specific information, they will not take action to avoid the products that could put them at risk.” The potential downside of this scaremongering is even worse.  How many thousands of former smokers who currently vape will conclude that the risks aren’t worth it, and return to smoking?  How many millions of smokers will never consider this vastly safer smoke-free option? CDC’s hypocrisy was demonstrated in the August 23 statement of Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield: “We are saddened to hear of the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use e-cigarette or ‘vaping’ devices…This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products. Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents.” The lung disease fatality was tragic, but Dr. Redfield exploited it by implicating all e-cigarettes and vapes.  Where is CDC’s sorrow for the 1,300+ smokers who die every day from cancers, circulatory diseases and emphysema?September 5, Reported by the Washington Post: "State & federal health officials investigating mysterious lung illnesses... have found the same chemical in samples of marijuana products used by people sickened in different parts of the country. The chemical is an oil derived from vitamin E." Original author: Brad Rodu
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