Fact Checking the Lung Disease Epidemic

If you keep up with the news, you may have noticed a few stories have been finding their way into the UK press concerning a nasty lung disease spreading throughout America. The headlines have been shocking, worrying, and eye-catching, telling of people who have died of a ‘mysterious lung condition’.

Those same headlines have mentioned that the fatalities from the ‘epidemic’ have been e-cigarette users. Suddenly, vaping has come under the cosh.

So, is there reason to be concerned?

Well… yes and no. Investigators have highlighted the fact that people who have fallen victim to this strange lung condition have been using THC oil cartridges. These are illegal and contain marijuana extract and vitamin E acetate. The vitamin E might sound healthy but acetate? Not so much. This is found in many health and beauty products designed to be used on the skin. However, it is not designed – nor it is suitable – to be inhaled.

With 34 cases being investigated as of early September 2019, an update from the New York State Department of Health confirmed that:

“At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing.”

At least one from each person. While it is still early days and there are no definitive answers yet, it seems there is a strong link between the lung condition that has taken several lives and illegal products containing vitamin E acetate. There is no reason and certainly no evidence to suggest legal vaping products are involved.

Unfortunately, this has not stopped the media from jumping on the story with both feet and getting the facts wrong. Vaping has been put in the dock when the real suspect should be illegal products containing THC oil cartridges. Sadly, some people who are against vaping and believe it should be banned have taken this as a golden opportunity to push for that result.

We await the results of the investigation with interest. However, it is heartening to see that officials have already spoken of the likelihood that ‘non-traditional’ products are behind the illness, rather than legal vaping products.

What do you think of the recent headlines surrounding this outbreak? Do you believe more should be done to limit access to these illegal products? Do you think anything can be done? Let us know your thoughts by leaving your comments below.