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The current situaton in the US on Vaping
To date there have been 1000+ cases of respiratory disease reported among ‘otherwise healthy young people’, including 20 fatalities, which US officials have claimed are caused by vaping.
As a responsible vaping business we feel it is right that we should inform you of the facts as we currently know them. Firstly, we can be very clear that there have been no reported illnesses linked to vaping in the UK.
Secondly, in the US and most of the international media, they are not making any distinction between vaping products designed as a harm reduction alternative to smoking, and vaping illicit drugs.
The experts are telling us that all of the available evidence so far suggests that the unfortunate victims of this illness have been using black market THC (marijuana) vape products or other homemade products, some containing synthetic cannabinoids like spice. Not products bought from reputable manufacturers, but from street dealers. In fact the FDA have even updated their warning to the public to state this - but this fact has not been picked up by the UK press in anywhere near the way the original scare stories have been proliferated.
Martin Dockrell, head of Tobacco Control at Public Health England has said “Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and they operate the yellow card scheme, encouraging vapers to report any bad experiences”
All the reports so far indicate there are 2 main categories of illness which are being seen - Lipoid Pneumonia and Chemical Pneumonitis
The likely cause of Lipoid Pneumonia was identified very early in the investigations. Vitamin E Acetate.
On September 5th the New York State Dept of Health said “Laboratory test results showed very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analysed 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 a common food additive and used in topical skin treatments, and is not known to cause any harm when ingested. However it does have oil like properties, which means that when vaped it is likely to cause Lipoid Pneumonia.
Vitamin E Acetate is NOT a normal ingredient in legal vaping products where PG and VG are the standard base liquids for both TPD 10ml products and shortfills alike. However it seems it has been very commonly used in the black market THC products.
And the likely cause of the Chemical Pneumonitis has also been identified, and again it stems from black market THC cart production. The root cause here is a fungicide called Myclobutinal which is commonly used in illicit cannabis production. If it is not flushed out of the plant before processing the resulting distillate will contain the chemical. Unfortunately when heated, Myclobutinal can transform into Hydrogen Cyanide - which is highly toxic to humans.
The Reported Cases of Vaping Illness in the UK
Recently there have been reports of a man who died ‘due to vaping’ here in the UK.
This poor gentlemen did indeed die from Lipoid Pneumonia, however you will see in the report that he was previously a 20 a day smoker, for a period of 41 years, and had switched to vaping 8 months prior to his illness. The doctors then made the link to vaping. However, even the Daily Mail tells us that the “coroner recorded an open verdict’ because ‘there is not enough information’ to be able to accurately assess the cause of death. It was NOT linked to vaping.
There are also reports of a woman in her 30’s who developed Lipoid Pneumonia type symptoms, which doctors have linked to vaping.
You will notice it says “The only source of lipid was the vegetable glycerine found in e-cigarette (EC)”. This is factually incorrect, VG is NOT a lipid, it is an alcohol and is water soluble. But don’t just take my word for it: https://www.planetofthevapes.
Reports of 200 Vaping Related Illness in the UK
Recently, many British newspapers have reported ‘Vaping has been linked to 200 health problems’ in the UK. https://www.mirror.co.uk/
This is incredibly mis-leading and wildly irresponsible. This is simply the data from the EU wide ‘yellow card scheme’ which the public can use to report any adverse effects they feel they might have from products which they regulate – including medicines, vaccines and vaping products. It was implemented as part of the TPD.
They are not proven to be related to vaping and importantly many of them are self-assessed and reported personally, not by a doctor.
It’s also important to note that these reports have been made over the course of the last 5 years (less than 15 a year on average). During that same period almost 500 yellow card reports were made for traditional NRT products – patches, gum, inhalators etc – but this seems to have been missed by the media strangely….
Here’s a great interview with Professor Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at UCL, Debroah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, Sarah Jakes from the consumer group, the New Nicotine Alliance, and Dr Gan Quan from The Union, a Science based public health group.