As expected, reports of people being hospitalized due to a “mystery lung disease” continue to grow. The non-communicable lung disease that is increasingly being linked to products such as K2/Spice and/or adulterated THC cartridges–sold by underground sellers–is now under investigation in 22 states including CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, IA, MN, MI, NC, NJ, NM, NY, PA, TX, UT, WI, and as of Thursday, Colorado has its first confirmed case.
As of Friday morning, one death in Illinois is being attributed to an unknown substance that people are consuming by way of vaping. CASAA extends our condolences to the family and share in everyone’s disappointment in knowing that this tragic death could have been prevented if more compassionate policies were in place.
In last week’s Heads Up Round Up we briefly highlighted the concern that state and federal drug policy is complicating diagnosis, patient care, and accurate reporting about these clusters of lung disease. But in the wake of these reported illnesses, almost all of the usual anti-tobacco campaigners are using this event to elevate their cries for an all-out ban on nicotine vaping products–especially e-liquids sold in flavors other than tobacco.
Anti-tobacco campaigners are advocating for policies that will do absolutely nothing to prevent events like this in the future. Rather, it is more likely that heavy regulation–even if it isn’t total prohibition–will lead to more instances of people being harmed by fake pot, adulterated THC, or poorly manufactured nicotine products sold on an unregulated, illicit market. According to an article on TechCrunch, the FDA is still uncertain if the products being used even fall under the agency’s regulatory authority.
CASAA is reaffirming our advice to consumers that vapor products (THC and nicotine) should be purchased from reputable sources and not “on the street.” We also note that the terminology used to discuss this issue can benefit from including a clear distinction between nicotine vaping, THC/cannabis vaping, and synthetic cannabinoid vaping (k2/spice). Simply reporting that a mysterious lung disease is generally attributable to “vaping” will have harmful unintended consequences such as sending people back to combustible tobacco or discouraging them from making the switch at all.
Alex Clark, CEO
- CDC Newsroom – “CDC, FDA, States Continue to Investigate Severe Pulmonary Disease Among People Who Use E-Cigarettes.” (Updated Aug. 23)
Active Calls to Action:
- CO – Glenwood Springs – “Stop a Flavor Ban!”
- WY – Cheyenne – “Stop an indoor vaping ban!”
- CO – Boulder – “Stop a flavor ban, Taxes, and Tobacco 21”
- CA – Richmond – “Richmond, CA Is Moving Toward the New Vaping Prohibition.”
- CA – Sacramento County – “Stop a Flavor Ban!” (Testimonials Needed)
- MA – “Stop a Flavor Ban!” (S 1279)
- NY – Albany County – “Stop a Flavor Ban!” (Local Law “E”)
The More You Know:
- Sheila Vakharia, PhD (Twitter Thread) – “When someone lies to you … about their drug use …” (Aug. 19)
- Michelle Minton (CEI) – “Heretics in the Church of Tobacco Control.” (Aug. 23)
- Sp!ked – “All ‘bad habits’ will soon be treated like smoking.” (Aug. 22)
- Jacob Sullum (Reason.org) – “Vaping May Be Driving Down Smoking, Says Federal Survey Report.” (Aug. 21)
- Jacob Sullum (Reason.org) – “Blaming breathing problems on ‘vaping’ is like blaming food poisoning on eating.” (Aug. 19)
Debunk the Headline:
- Wired – Vaping May Harm Your Blood Flow—Even Without Nicotine (Aug. 20)
- Many behaviors/environmental factors cause vessels to constrict WITHOUT CAUSING HARM, so there’s no proof that vaping will cause harm due to the temporary constriction.
- “Constricted” does NOT equal “ill-functioning,” “damaged” or “inflamed” vessels that are linked with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and other vascular diseases, yet the headlines WRONGLY use the terms interchangeably.
- Vaping has NOT been shown to cause OTHER known risk factors for smoking-related PAD, such as carbon monoxide exposure, endothelial function, lipoprotein metabolism, coagulation pathways and platelet function.
- NY – Cattaraugus County – (Update) “Local law banning flavored e-cigarette ‘juice’ tabled in Cattaraugus County Legislature.” (Aug. 22)
- A proposed ban on sales of flavored e-liquid is temporarily tabled by the County Legislature’s Human Services Committee. Committee members cite legislation pending in the state legislature as a reason to wait.
- CO – Several counties and municipalities are considering stricter vaping laws:
- CA – Los Angeles County – “A ban on sales of flavored tobacco for e-cigarettes could be coming to L.A. County.” (Aug. 23)
- PA – Erie – “Smoking ban for Erie’s public parks advances” (Aug. 21)
- IN – Columbus – “City oks public vaping ban–with a catch.” (Aug. 22)
- MO – Independence – “Effort would ban people from smoking in Independence apartments.” (Aug. 20)
- If you’re on Facebook, please be sure to join your CASAA state group to help prevent anti-harm reduction laws like these from spreading through your state! Click here to find your state group: CASAA State Facebook Group List
- Find your state information here: Find My State Info – CASAA
- And remember to officially join CASAA. Membership is FREE.
CASAA is made stronger with every voice we can count!