The USA’s ‘Mystery Vaping Illness’
There are an estimated 3 million vapers in the United Kingdom with 0 deaths or reported vaping illnesses.
There are an estimated 1.2 million vapers in France with 0 deaths or reported vaping illnesses.
There are an estimated 1 million vapers in Germany with 0 deaths or reported vaping illnesses.
There are an estimated 1.5 million vapers in Poland with 0 deaths or reported vaping illnesses.
There are an estimated 1.5 million vapers in Russia with 0 deaths or reported vaping illnesses.
Each of these European countries have millions upon millions of people vaping e-liquid each day without one death or report of a widespread illness. The industry continues to expand and flourish, especially in the UK where figures have doubled within the last couple of years.
The NHS states:
In the UK e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality. They aren’t completely risk-free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco and don’t produce carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful constituents in cigarette smoke. The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke but at much lower levels.
Leading health organisations including the Royal College of General Practitioners, British Medical Association and Cancer Research UK agree that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking. Based on the currently available evidence, Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians estimate they are at least 95% less harmful.
So, with the National Health Service advocating the use of vaping as an effective form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, what is this ‘Mysterious Vaping-related Illness’ that is causing mayhem in the United States?
In the US, there have been reports of e-cigarette lung injuries that have affected more than 1000 people and even been the cause of death of at least 21. The CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) advises that people consider refraining from using an e-cigarette, or vaping, products containing nicotine.
This is a very peculiar statement from the CDC as nicotine, whilst a highly addictive chemical, is no more dangerous for adults than caffeine. Furthermore, those who vape are more likely to be ex-smokers, however the CDC warning is only against vaping nicotine and nothing about smoking cigarettes which has been killing half of the people who smoke them for centuries.
At this time the FDA and the CDC have not identified the cause or causes of the lung injuries, however the common denominator seems to be those who vape.
If we look into this ‘mysterious vaping illness’ we can see that this is a localised problem only found in the US where regulations and government bodies are lacking with the production of e-liquid and advertising standards. Moreover, there are numerous reports on the affected patients vaping THC, which is illegal in Europe.
THC is the psychoactive chemical in Marijuana which is usually oil based. There are many dangerous factors at play for those who are illegally vaping THC. Firstly, the production of THC is unregulated and is usually sold on the ‘black market’ so there is no guarantee of safety or the actual ingredients used. Secondly, cuticle wax cannot be burnt away at low temperatures and thus the oily, waxy bits build up and settles in your lungs which can then cause lung disease.
THC seems to be the biggest concern in the US when it comes to vaping illnesses which is a completely different story in Europe. This could explain why the ‘vaping illness’ is exclusive to the United States.
Experts in toxicology and addiction said they are sure that the 1,299 confirmed and probable American cases of serious lung injuries linked to vaping are “a U.S.-specific phenomenon,” and there is no evidence of a similar pattern of illness in Britain or elsewhere.
What’s happening in the U.S. is not happening here (in Britain), nor is it happening in any other countries where vaping is common,” said John Britton, a professor and respiratory medicine consultant and director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies at Nottingham University.
U.S. investigators and health officials have said there may be more than one cause for the cases of vaping lung illness. They have also pointed to vaping oils containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, as being especially risky.
Now we have the full picture of what is happening in the US, there is a simple process you can follow to ensure you know what’s in your e-liquid. For safety, only buy from reputable and regulated e-liquid manufacturers and retailers. Ensure that they are TPD-approved, have good standing within the community, and it goes without saying, do not buy e-liquid or THC products on the black market.
For more information on these illnesses (and everything else related to vaping and your health) check out our Vaping Health Facts guide.
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