Have you seen the articles in the US media about vaping related illnesses and the vaping related death?
There have been a bunch of articles coming from Illinois, and other states in the USA. I was pretty shocked by some of them, and I've heard discussions online about the articles from both sides of the fence.
Obviously I work in the Vape industry, so im dealing with my own biases formed over years of working with smoking cessation services, customers and other vaping stores. I'm not going to spout my opinion, its a matter of fact.
While reading many of the articles, it's pretty clear that the majority of these people were not vaping nicotine-containing e-liquids, but using "cannabis containing oils". Most of these cases were of people buying cannabis oil from the street or buying imitation products that were not manufactured in a commercial sense.
The reports of illnesses all refer to an "outbreak" of illnesses, so this looks like its isolated to a group of manufacturers or street dealers in the USA making cannabis oil carts, without the proper knowledge of handling and manufacturing vaping products. Cannabis oil is not known to have this kind of reaction, which points to contaminated oil.
There have still been a few reports of people getting sick after vaping nicotine-containing e-cigarettes however these cases are very few compared to the number of cannabis-related illnesses included in the report. The severe hospitalization reported in the USA claimed that the respiratory disease was caused by vaping eliquid. This has since been proven to be untrue. The details regarding the vaping related death are varied, and the media articles alone are not enough to confirm that a vape related death has occurred. They could have been vaping something that isn't designed to be vaped, they could have underlying health conditions, and we don't know if they were using an e-cigarette or cannabis vape. We don't know the details, but the details are enough for the media to write titles like "vaping kills" "vaping is a disease etc"
Vaping is not safe, but it is a safer alternative to smoking, and that is a fact.
In the month that we have seen the surge of articles about vaping related illnesses in the USA...
- 390 Kiwis have DIED from smoking-related illnesses
- 39,000 have DIED from smoking-related illnesses in the USA.
Vaping has been in the Mainstream in NZ since 2015 and there are about 200,000 kiwi vapers. In the USA, there are about 1.9 million vapers. While the media is quick to jump to conclusions about how dangerous vaping is, it's easy to see how the numbers stack up.
What we do know, vaping is a hot topic and a contentious subject for some people. This means that when the media writes an article dismissing vaping as something that is very harmful, engagement is high. People want to know the effects of vaping. The facts are, we don't know what the long term health effects from vaping are until long term medical studies have taken place. The short term vaping studies in NZ and abroad are all very positive, but may not be representative of the bigger picture. Only time will tell.
What we do know, is that vaping is less harmful than smoking.
While we would never say that vaping is safe, inhaling anything is unsafe. If you are concerned about your health, and you need to quit smoking, vaping is safer than smoking.
Things aren't black and white, people know that inhaling things into your lungs is not healthy, but they do it anyway. Cigarette smoke will kill 50% of its regular users if there is a less harmful alternative, why smoke?
Anyway, before I get completely off topic, ill sign off with some advice.
- If you feel like vaping is making you sick, see a doctor and stop vaping.
- Don't buy eliquid from a supplier you don't trust. Look for e-liquid made in a cleanroom by an established company.
- Eliquid is not "oil". Vaping "oil" will make you very sick.
- In the USA they vape cannabis oil, but it is pharmaceutical quality. Don't try and do this unless you are competent in this area.
- If you see an article in the media, check the sources and follow the conversation.