Vaping is cleared of blame for Lung Disease outbreak in America

The outbreak of severe respiratory illnesses and the unfortunate deaths of 18 people have wrongly been put down to conventional vaping and created an ill-informed negative media coverage for the industry. There is now a solid case to prove that the illnesses and fatalities are down to people vaping cannabis oil containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and vitamin E acetate that have been modified by users or purchased under the false pretence of safety.

The spotlight has now fallen on THC cartridges that, like other illegal drugs, may be formulated with any substances that are not designed to be heated to the high temperatures required for vaping. Unfortunately, the users of these illicit products also use conventional e-cigarettes, which has caused all products to be tarnished in a negative light when this is simply not justified.

Unlike America, the UK are regulated by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which states that a notification must contain the following information “toxicological data regarding the product’s ingredients (including in heated form) and emissions, referring in particular to their effects on the health of consumers when inhaled and taking into account, amongst other things”. The TPD requires key emissions to be reported on including Acetaldehyde, Acrolein & Formaldehyde.

Public Health England’s 2018 “Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products” reported that two studies reviewing the biomarker data for Acrolein (one of the key emissions needed to be reported on), found e-cigarette levels consistent with non-smoking levels. The only findings within the report noted that e liquids can release aldehydes if they are overheated, but the overheating generates an unpleasant taste, hence consumers quickly ceasing to vape when this occurs.

Many studies that have claimed safety issues surrounding vaping have been discredited and do not have the scientific evidence to provide concrete data to back their claims up. One study stated that “e-cigarette vapour boosts the production of inflammatory chemicals and disables key protective cells in the lung” but provides no comparison with conventional cigarettes and therefore major limitations are found within the study.

The evidence surrounding vaping is leading to one conclusion – The emissions produced from vaping are less harmful than those produced by tobacco smoke.

In conclusion, the negative media surrounding the ongoing lung illnesses within America is going to damage the perception of e-cigarettes and revert the majority to conventional smoking. Action needs to be taken to counteract the false headlines and ensure consumers within the UK are provided with the knowledge and power to purchase a product that is safe and of the highest quality.

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Lizi Jenkins
Head of Technical & Development

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