Vaping

CDC Confirms That the Vast Majority of Vaping-Related Lung Disease Cases Involve THC Products

The latest findings highlight the irrationality of banning legal e-cigarettes that deliver nicotine.

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Today the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally confirmed that the vast majority of patients with vaping-related respiratory illnesses have reported using cannabis products, typically purchased on the black market. Among 514 patients for whom the information was available, the CDC found, 77 percent reported using THC products. Just 16 percent said they had vaped only nicotine, although the types, sources, and brands of the products were not identified.

Since people may be reluctant to admit illegal drug use, the true rate of THC vaping among the patients with respiratory symptoms is almost certainly higher. Prior data from several states indicated that 83 percent to 100 percent of patients reported that they had vaped THC.

Another CDC study, based on interviews with 86 patients in Wisconsin and Illinois, found that 87 percent "reported using e-cigarette products containing THC." Two-thirds of the THC vapers said they used cartridges "sold under the brand name Dank Vapes," one of several "largely counterfeit brands with common packaging that is easily available online and that is used by distributors to market THC-containing cartridges with no obvious centralized production or distribution."

In light of this information, the main thrust of which has been apparent for at least a month, it is harder than ever to justify the insinuation that legal e-cigarettes are to blame for the lung disease outbreak, which involves 805 cases and 12 deaths by the CDC's latest count. While 16 percent of the patients in the CDC's study of 514 cases said they vaped only nicotine, those self-reports may not be reliable given the sensitivity of the subject. In any case, there is no indication so far that any of the patients were using legal e-cigarettes, as opposed to black-market pods or e-liquids, which may pose special hazards.

The CDC's findings make sense, since legal e-cigarettes have been used by millions of Americans for years without reports of lung illnesses like these. The cases emerged only in recent months, which suggests that the problem is relatively new additives or contaminants in THC vapes, and possibly also in counterfeit nicotine pods or nicotine e-liquids of unknown provenance.

"It seems there's too much conflating these tragic lung injuries with store-bought brands of regulated, legal e-cigs like Juul and NJOY," former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb observed yesterday, "and far too little blaming THC, CBD, and bootleg nicotine vapes—where so far, the only available hard evidence points." While "some people may be getting sick from legal e-cigs," he said, "to save lives and make sound policy we must follow science."

The CDC has slightly revised its muddled message about the hazards of vaping. "While this investigation is ongoing," it says, "CDC recommends that you consider refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC" (emphasis added). That last part is new. The CDC also implicitly acknowledges that conventional, combustible cigarettes are more dangerous than e-cigarettes: "If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes."

Meanwhile, however, Massachusetts has banned all vaping products, leaving former and current smokers without this harm-reducing alternative. Earlier this month, Michigan and New York imposed "emergency" bans on the flavored e-cigarettes that former smokers overwhelmingly prefer. This week Rhode Island announced a similar ban, and today Washington state followed suit.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) both cited the lung disease outbreak, along with recent increases in underage vaping, as part of their justification, even though the bans they plan to impose will not apply to the products that seem to be the main culprits. All of these bans are being imposed by unilateral executive action, without any input from state legislatures.

These panicky prohibitions create a situation where former smokers may go back to a far more hazardous source of nicotine and current smokers may be deterred from quitting by the lack of appealing alternatives. The bans also give a boost to the very black-market products that have been implicated in vaping-related respiratory illnesses. The predictable result will be more diseases and deaths, which the governors presumably do not intend.

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  1. The CDC also implicitly acknowledges that conventional, combustible cigarettes are more dangerous than e-cigarettes: “If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.”

    And yet, they’re making e-cigarettes that much less attractive as an alternative for no reason. I was honestly afraid that something like this would happen when I started vaping 4 or 5 years ago and I have never had any issues.

    That said, those e-cigarette THC cartridges hurt my lungs like hell and after just one puff I cough so hard I feel like I’m going to die for about five or ten minutes.

    So needless to say, I’m just going to steer clear of all THC vape products.

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  2. Nooooooooooooooooooooo Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!
    So you mean, it was just Michael Bloomberg paying a K Street PR firm to protect his Philip Morris stock all along?

    THAT’S CRAZY TALK!!

    1. Man I got into that nicotine gum to quit tobacco and while it helped me quit I stayed addicted to it for over a year. That shit can fuck you up, sort of. During that year I feel like I got some insight into how those opioid overdoses occur. With the gum you would build up nicotine in your body throughout the day and feel fine but sometimes that last piece of the day would send me over the edge. I basically quit because I felt like I was having fucking heart attacks. I used to joke that I wound to be found dead surrounded by gum wrappers. Good times.

    2. Juul, owned by a tobacco company, is not a loss leader being used to deliberately pull crushing regulation down on itself amd the rest of the vaping industry.

      North Carolina is not a tobacco state and the first to sue them.

      These are all just coincidences.

    1. They’re at least “Fucking NannyStater Idiots,” and likely worse. They’re just “looking out for the children,” right???

      1. Problem: Making uncertified products illegal has not prevented contamination.

        Solution: Make them EVEN MORE illegal.

        1. They are not outlawing the uncertified illegal products made with no quality control or safety standards.
          They are already outlawed.
          They are outlawing the certified legal products made with quality control and safety standards.
          They have to outlaw the legal products because the illegal products are allegedly killing people or causing health problems.

          Or, as in gun control as an answer to gun violence, they think banning all legal vape devices will prevent use of both legit and outlaw vape juices. I suspect the BS propaganda about Crisis Epidemic of Demon Killer Vapes is like the Obama Admin claim that 40% of crime guns are bought from private dealers at gun shows: a white lie in the name of a greater good.

          They will only stimulate black market traffic in the illegal poisons.

          BTW That illegal vape packaging reminds me of the “bath salts” packaging used for stuff like “plant food tablets” — underground lab produced stimulants — sold at head shops and smoke shops a few years back. People could order the packing material and put in it whatever crap they cooked up with their internet recipes in their basement chemistry labs.

  3. ANY MASSHOLE VAPERS PRESENT?
    Curious as to how the ban is working on the ground.

    1. Could you imagine being in one of the ban states and then I guess you’d be thinking about hitting up the black market on the internet for your stuff. These bans are pushing into the black market.

  4. Kinda like saying poison is drunk from cups, so…

  5. Panic of the month. Results in awful legislation that damages long after the ‘problem’ is solved.

    (Insert my fav Mencken quote here)

    1. If someone is going to black market THC vape cartridges don’t put something in there that will hurt the people. Throw in some nicotine instead. Get them coming back for more.
      Stupid idiots with their short-term business strategies.

  6. Off topic – behold the terrors of…the Zombie Kangaroo!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiOtklXEe6Q

    1. Nobody’s baked enough to enjoy it, I see.

      1. Be patient… Some of us take a LOOONG time to get baked enough to enjoy such things!

        Kangaroos worry me, too, but I worry more about GMO kangaroos than I worry about zombie kangaroos.

        Rabbits are NOT native to Australia, and they have run AMOK down under! Suppose they ever successfully interbreed with (or get GMOed in some tinkerer’s garage with) kangaroos!!! The results would be HOPPERS FROM HELL, with super-hopper-powers!!! If they ever learn to shop at the shopping malls, in long shopping lines for super-popular products, they’d super-hop the lines in front of us, and maul us at the malls!!!
        The Aussies would have very little choice, other than to devise a GMO to go on the counter-attack…
        MeThinks that such GMO should be called the “Thunder from Down Under, Super-Mall-Mauling, Shopper Hopper Stoppers”!!!
        Or maybe “Thunder from Down Under, Super-Mall-Mauling, Shopper Hopper Stopper Coppers” (Coppers with police powers).
        The evolutionary arms race would be ON!!! To fight back against these “coppers”, the Shopper Hopper Gang would need…
        “Thunder from Down Under, Super-Mall-Mauling, Shopper Hopper Stopper Copper Stoppers”!!!
        The counter-counter measure then becomes a device used by the coppers, to chop them all to pieces!
        This, then, is known as the…
        “Thunder from Down Under, Super-Mall-Mauling, Shopper Hopper Stopper Copper Stopper Chopper”!!!

  7. I got a fake Brass Knuckles cartridge about 3 months ago. I had 3 and noticed one had different writing. Looked it up online and read all about the problem with fakes. I didn’t use it of course. I am worried THC is getting a bad rap in all this. Lets be clear no one has EVER died from smoking cannabis.

    1. “Let’s be clear no one has EVER died from smoking cannabis.”

      I agree, but there may be something in the vaping products that’s killing folks … or maybe they just die from having too much fun! Right? Smoke cannabis, don’t vape it …. until they find out what’s going on, huh?

      This is simply another argument in favor of legalizing mary jane. That way the safety of products will be easily documented and reported.

      1. Well you can vaporize cannabis. Blow hot air over it, etc. That’s actually better than smoking the green parts.

      2. It might simply be careless use of contaminated equipment that has germs like pneumococcus in it.

        Interesting that most stories do not mention brand names, only ‘THC vaporizers.’

        1. Criteria for inclusion in the cohort excludes infectious disease.

          This is a pneumonitis, not infectious pneumonia. It does not respond to antibiotics. It responds to corticosteroids.

        2. “Interesting that most stories do not mention brand names, only ‘THC vaporizers.’”

          They’ve been doing this – NOT telling us a brand name – in most negative stories about vaping for years. Remember the exploding battery scare? Always examined the stories to see what brand exploded but, lo and behold, no mention – almost like they were trying to implicate every brand of e-cigs. Guess if you’re trying to demonize a product, you can’t let the readers know what defective make to avoid.

      3. “I agree, but there may be something in the vaping products that’s killing folks …”

        Yes, there is, and the CDC has already identified what it is, vitamin e acetate, an oil based form of vitamin e.

        This has been found in all black market THC vape fluid products, and has been found in exactly 0 legal vape fluids.

      1. From your link:
        The small number of people who suffer from the syndrome often don’t like to hear the only identifiable cure: to stop smoking.

        Hence, vape.

        (Although I’m sure you were being facetious.)

      2. CHS has been reported. It is uncommon and real thing.

        A review article.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3576702/

  8. Man, if I weren’t such a level headed believer in press transparency, and skeptic of humanity’s inherent lust for greed, I’d say this whole psyop was deliberately created by a party or parties with vested interests. The last thing I’m going to do though, is insinuate that companies like Altria could somehow influence lawmakers to ban methods of quitting smoking, when they are the 2nd largest political donor in America. It’s not like the justice department is on their side either. The last time they got busted for conspiracy, the justice department through the book at them with a suit for 280 billion. Granted, some people on high at the justice department strangely dropped that suit down to 14.5 billion at the last minute, but that doesn’t matter because they knew the whole time that they had improperly filed as a civil suit, which meant, surprise, zero would be paid. Thankfully, they were able to get warning labels on all cigarettes – just think of the lives saved.

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  10. imagine that, the government was wrong and panicked and then panicked everyone who vapes who isn’t smart enough to realize the government fucks this stuff up all the time. Now they’ve limited consumer choice with only a few flavors possible. Instead of finding the people who were poisoning people with shitty vape ingredients they tried give vaping a black eye when smoking kills 400,000 people a year.

  11. The question is WHY those health groups are so hostile towards e-cigarettes. I think it’s pretty obvious: e-cigarettes are directly competing with the farmaceutical companies’ NRT products like patches, gums and even anti-depressives. As many of the public health groups are supported and paid by the farmaceutical nicotine producers, they will support their interests.

    “The enemies of my friends are also my enemies”.

    1. I think it’s pretty obvious: e-cigarettes are directly competing with the farmaceutical companies’ NRT products like patches, gums and even anti-depressives. As many of the public health groups are supported and paid by the farmaceutical nicotine producers, they will support their interests.

      Personally, I think it goes far deeper than that. Patches, gum, and anti-depressants all went through the regulatory process. They are approved. Vape products didn’t. Since the 60s, nicotine has been deadlier and more addictive than heroin. Now, suddenly not being in a government-blessed pharmaceutical, it’s about as addictive as caffeine.

      Not only does it threaten the market share, it exposes a lot of frayed ends of the protectionist schemes.

  12. I’ve actually heard that vapes are even more harmful than regular cigarettes
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  13. former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb observed … “to save lives and make sound policy we must follow science.”

    That’s just crazy talk, Scott! No wonder you’re *former* commissioner.

  14. Isn’t the CDC retasked by prohibitionists? Once responsible for protecting us from biological weapons and plagues, their new job is to spin Creation Science superstition into lies aimed at convincing officials that merry joo wanna is Harry Anslinger’s Assassin of Youth. Otherwise the Political State would have to admit that all the economy-crashing asset-forfeiture and coercive and deadly force was simply wrong, a mistake, and confess being stupid enough to believe in weaponized pseudoscience that kills and destroys the economy.

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  18. When you follow the money on this one, it leads back to Michael Bloomberg and a K Street PR firm.

  19. This country has lost its mind. Surreal times.

    1. Not just this country.

      I’m pretty sure we’ll go down in the history book as The Stupid Ages. Much like The Dark Ages, future historians and cultural thinkers will habitually suss out that education and reading levels were as high as they ever were, that the internet reached more homes than at any point in history up to that time, and that college educations were abundant and readily accessible while still struggling to accept the contemporaneous ‘Stupid Ages’ designation.

  20. Personally, I think it goes far deeper than that. Patches, gum, and anti-depressants all went through the regulatory process. They are approved. Vape products didn’t. Since the 60s, nicotine has been deadlier and more addictive than heroin. Now, suddenly not being in a government-blessed pharmaceutical, it’s about as addictive as caffeine.
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