The sickness is suspected to be caused by blackmarket THC vape cartridges which have been cut with Vitamin E Acetate.
There is a huge problem with black market / counterfeit THC vape products.
There are two communities tracking this on Reddit:
Obviously not smoking is the best option but assuming smokers will continue smoking even knowing the risks - which is the case unfortunately for a big majority, i believe the best thing to do is give them a way to get their fix that poses the smallest risk.
You can always try "snus". Snuff has a bad rep in the US because of the association with chewing tobacco and old westerns, but snus in a pouch under your lip is actually very hygienic, easily disposable, practically invisible and obviously spares your lungs, while still giving you a nicotine buzz.
Obviously no way of consuming nicotine is risk free, but I use it every now and then and I enjoy it, especially with beer or coffee.
I think Swedish Match is attempting to market snus in the US under the "General" brand, might be worth checking out if you want to try an alternate way of consuming tobacco.
My guess would be that they did not use "portioned" snus. It's a bit of a macho thing, so the prevalence of the loose kind that you have to bake into a ball yourself and get your hands dirty is much higher among professional athletes, car mechanics and the like, while most regular consumers prefer the portioned bags. If you're interested in the statistics, about 77% prefer portioned snus.
I believe one of the major reasons that people prefer to take their snus "straight" is because it's stronger, but the whole thing about dirtying your hands, making a mess when discarding it, going around spitting etc. creates some obvious issues for regular office workers or other consumer groups with similar opinions.
(And, on the topic, I am quite sure that in addition to the comparably low health risks of snus in contrast to e/cigarettes, the trust in the origin and the quality of the raw material used is rightfully so higher than that of the materials used in after market vape juice.)
No there isn't. The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that e-cigarettes are far, far safer than any form of tobacco.
Anything you add to the liqiud other than nicotine and PG/VG may be problematic. You never really know what is in imported premixed liquid, what cutting agents were used, what purity of source material was.
It seems that CDC is seeing some results of cost cutting, using stuff that was not really meant to be vaped mixed to keep margins better.
When vape pens first came out I never had any issues. In the last few years I very well could have easily been one of those statistics.
Vape pens make my lungs hurt and I have to use my rescue inhaler for days afterwards. It’s terrible. I don’t know if they changed how they make the oil but I completely gave up on vaping. I tried one with pineapple flavoring and man... it almost was the death of me.
All the recent fear aside, I think we can form and do deserve a well regulated market for these products.
Stick to unflavored distillates.
This should maybe be a general lesson when people advocate unproven replacements for unhealthy habits.
A small percentage of Americans, who mainly smoke THC, are suffering.
Sounds like someone in America is doing something dodgy.
What percentage is not showing life-threatening issues yet, but are slowly building up accumulated damage?
Waiting to prove a negative is a silly stance when you know the alternative will kill you and severely lower your quality of life until that day comes.
I believe cell phones may have negative health effects that we have not yet discovered. They offer considerable convenience and that's worth it for me, but I know people who don't use them for that reason.
I'm skeptical about GMOs in general as they have potentially unknown environmental risks that we are poorly equipped to reverse or undo once we discover them.
New medicines obviously must be weighed against the disease they treat and the existing standard of care.
Waiting is exactly the wise choice, and acting like the alternative is cigarettes is nonsense when there's a perfectly available, free, harmless alternative that works for billions of people all over the world and has done for all time, which is simply not smoking.
As for your actual question, whether vaping is worse than cigarettes, I don't know and wouldn't guess, but I wouldn't quit smoking to take up vaping.
Smoking is not sex, don't be a fool.
> You don't know what you're talking about.
I actually do.
> So you "don't know" if something known to cause cancer and respiratory disease is worse than something not known to cause any disease?
That's correct. And neither do you, because the history isn't there.
Now, please go back and look at the history of cigarette smoking in the US if you want to continue this discussion further on an equal footing.
You, and millions of others who have managed to quit smoking. I'm one of them.
Don't hate the user/addict though; hate the industry who use shady marketing to influence young people (children) to start smoking, who influence our MPs with shady lies and trickery. They are the servants of death.
the fact or practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something, typically alcohol.
>That's correct. And neither do you, because the history isn't there.
No, it's not correct. We don't prove things safe, we attempt to show, with reasonable certainty, that something is not harmful. Those are not equivalent. We have no reason to believe that vaping is dangerous. That's not a statement that it is safe, but to equate it to cigarettes is asinine.
>Now, please go back and look at the history of cigarette smoking in the US if you want to continue this discussion further on an equal footing.
Judging from your tone and opinions I don't think we'll ever be "on equal footing". This subject seems to draw out the most pompous, ignorant people.
Now, to restate my point:
The abstinence approach works for those who choose to improve their health by not smoking. If you don't make that choice, fine. But it's irresponsible to suggest that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking when we simply do not and cannot know that to be the case.
The jury will continue to be out until vaping has a long enough history for the long-term effects to become clear. So again: call me in 50 years.
If I had to gamble and pick which of the two is less unhealthy? I wouldn't gamble. Nobody is being forced to make that choice.
Ok. I also argue that laptops are potentially as dangerous as smoking. Call me in 20 years and I'll let you know how it turned out.
Honestly it was for the best - I ended up using gum and eventually just quitting, and stopped using thc for other reasons.
Surely 1 out of 450 has a sample left that can be tested thoroughly?
So they're right to ere on the side of caution here. The CDC isn't exactly incompetent...if they could pin this down to THC pens only they would.
I do think you're right in that this is probably some dodgy THC solvent, but based on current known info I think CDC called it cautiously...but right.
The two biggest red flags for me:
1) Language used in official press releases, weasel wording like:
a) "over 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products"
b) "The investigation has not identified any [single - my addition] specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to all cases. Many [how many? do you have no statistics on that? why?] patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)".
It seems written in a manner to maximize plausible deniability, hinting at one thing strongly [but not saying it outright], and making an extremely subtle acknowledgement of alternative causes [in the spirit of professionalism and "full disclosure"], but not reporting the magnitude of the "many", which could very well be 100%.
That's the beauty (and shortcoming) of written language for communication - when something is written in a seemingly deceitful style like this, there's no way for sure of knowing whether it is accidental or not. Unnecessary vagueness from a facts based organization like the CDC and #2 (below) make me lean strongly towards the deliberately deceitful interpretation.
2) Vaping has been extremely widespread for years, with few reports like these. And then out of the blue, 450 cases (5 deaths) occur in one country. No curiosity whatsoever about why everything is fine for years and then a massive spike in a very short period of time, in one country.
I could very well be wrong, but I will make a prediction: this will play heavily in the media for a few more weeks and then subtly degrade to a "gee, we don't really know what the real issue was, but our research is ongoing", and we won't hear about it again.
EDIT: From another HN comment:
New York State Department of Health Announces Update on Investigation into Vaping-Associated Pulmonary Illnesses
Department Warns Against Use of Black Market Vaping Products
Lab Test Results Show High Levels of Vitamin E Acetate, Now Focus of Investigation
The Department issued a health advisory in August, alerting health care providers of this emerging health threat and listing symptoms they should look for in patients. As of September 5, 2019, the Department has received 34 reports from New York State physicians of severe pulmonary illness among patients ranging from 15 to 46 years of age who were using at least one cannabis-containing vape product before they became ill. However, all patients reported recent use of various vape products.
Laboratory test results showed very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed by the Wadsworth Center as part of this investigation. At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing. Vitamin E acetate is not an approved additive for New York State Medical Marijuana Program-authorized vape products and was not seen in the nicotine-based products that were tested.
As a result, vitamin E acetate is now a key focus of the Department's investigation of potential causes of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses. Vitamin E acetate is a commonly available nutritional supplement that is not known to cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. However, the Department continues to investigate its health effects when inhaled because its oil-like properties could be associated with the observed symptoms.
The Wadsworth Center is testing both cannabis and nicotine-containing vape products as part of this investigation and continues testing the purity of New York's approved medical marijuana products. More than a dozen product samples, in some cases multiple samples from a single product, from patients reporting symptoms have been tested. These samples have been tested for a range of substances, including THC and other cannabis-derived cannabinoids, nicotine, synthetic cannabinoids, opioids and pesticides. Products tested include a variety of labels and packaging. Many are suspected to be counterfeits of recreational cannabis-containing vape products available in other states.
It's rather interesting that absolutely none of these extra details, which have been available for quite some time now, appear in any official CDC reports.
Is this really that hard for people to figure out?
Any suggestion that e-cigarettes could be dangerous at all is instantly downvoted into oblivion or shouted down with, "you want me to smoke? It's deadly!"
Well, either a dedicated campaign or just a lot of addicts with their head firmly buried in the sand.
Is there any real chance that e-cigs could be more dangerous, or comparable to smoking? Would we even know yet? It can take decades for smokers to start developing bad symptoms, could vaping be similar?
What I don't understand is why the FDA will not outright ban them immediately. (Well I probably do, and the answer is lobbying.)
Regardless of your stance on whether or not the FDA _should_ ban ingredients that pose health risks (government intervention on liberties et cetera), the fact is that this is the FDA's policy. It bans harmful ingredients (usually).
So with that policy in place, what's the deal here? If and when e-cigarettes are found to contain a chemical that is directly linked to cancer or lung disease, will the FDA ban it? Or will it conspicuously let it slide, and just slap a warning on it, like it did cigarettes?
There are many possible formulations of e-cigarette liquid, with the only common factor being nicotine. We are extremely confident that nicotine isn't carcinogenic, although it may cause mild cardiovascular harm. If we find out that some of the other ingredients in e-cigarette vapour are toxic or carcinogenic, the industry will voluntarily stop using those ingredients immediately; they already did so with diacetyl.
I would not say that's the case. This article is a good place to start: