Vaping advocacy groups blame street vapes containing synthetic drugs for rise in lung illness after CDC cracks down on e-cigarettes
The American Vaping Association told MEAWW that the results of the CDC investigation will show that amateur-made street vapes containing THC or synthetic drugs were responsible for these illnesses and not nicotine vaping products.
After the CDC announced that it was looking into vaping-related deaths earlier this week, advocacy groups have said that they are confident that the final results will find discrepancies in the quality of the e-cigarettes and not vaping as a whole. The CDC launched an investigation after lung illness cases were reported in 14 states that they believe may be linked to e-cigarette use.
The American Vaping Association told MEA World Wide in a statement that the results "will show that amateur-made street vapes containing THC or synthetic drugs were responsible for these illnesses, not nicotine vaping products." Gregory Conley, President of AVA also added noting that the incidents were confirmed in California. "We expect other authorities to soon recognize the massive differences between oil-based, street-bought THC cartridges and nicotine vaping products," he said.
They also welcomed the CDC investigation and said that the sooner they disclose their results to the public, the better "as every day this story makes headlines more adult smokers are being scared off from using nicotine vaping products to quit smoking."
Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternative Association said that it could be a "bad batch" rather than a long term use of e-cigarettes. "While it is becoming clear that we are dealing with a 'bad batch' of product--rather than issues arising from long-term use of new technology--the larger discussion is about how unjust drug laws are creating this situation. Even in California, where cannabis is legal for recreational use, burdensome regulations and high taxes are motivating people to buy cheaper products from the underground market. If anything, this incident is a case study in the consequences of prohibition," they said in a statement.
Not Blowing Smoke, another advocacy group that promotes affordable access to vapor products in order to help smokers kick the addiction said that reports had "gone out of its way to make it sound like it's related to vaping nicotine using e-cigarette products from legitimate manufacturers." Echoing similar sentiments as AVA, the group also pointed at the black market vapes as the culprit. "Several cases appear to revolve around the inhalation of THC/Cannabis products, in particular, illicit and black market products," they said calling the lack of details in some of the cases "highly suspicious that these reports are in any way related to legit nicotine products that are on the market."
They also said that the recent reports also point to the argument that there is more to the issue than meets the eye. "Around 13 million Americans vape nicotine and many have done so for many years. The sudden surge in these reports where none existed in the past 10 years certainly implies that there must be more to this than merely the proper use of e-cigarettes."
The CDC has reportedly said that they have found no evidence so far that infectious disease had caused the illnesses and that they are probing if the culprit is e-cigarette use. In a statement on Saturday, they said that they are working with health departments in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Indiana and Minnesota on the investigation. There have been 94 possible cases of severe lung illness related to vaping since June 28. Initially, they said and the affected age group are teens and young adults however, the Wisconsin health department updated it to include older people as well. 30 of the reported cases occurred in the state.
The Wisconsin Health Department said in a statement that they are continuing to interview patients so they can identify a possible cause. Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said, "All patients reported vaping prior to their hospitalization, but we don’t know all the products they used at this time. The products used could include a number of substances, including nicotine, THC, synthetic cannabinoids, or a combination of these." It is expected to release more information soon.