The vaping industry has been plunged into chaos recently, after a spate of illnesses and deaths across the United States. Unsurprisingly, vapers are pretty concerned. But initial research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the lung injuries – known as e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI) – is being caused by an ingredient often found in illegal THC cartridges: vitamin E acetate.
However, the media has seized on these illnesses to suggest that no form of vaping is safe, and in doing so has spread misinformation and doubt. Now let’s be clear: vaping is not 100 percent healthy, in the same way it’s not completely healthy to drink alcohol! But compelling research from Public Health England shows that vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking.
In this article, we’ll discuss the causes of EVALI, and why experts are so confident that illegal vape juices are behind the outbreak. And we’ll also talk about the steps you can take to stay safe when vaping.
EVALI and vitamin E acetate
Researchers first synthesized vitamin E acetate in the 1960s, and is used regularly in skin creams and other cosmetic products. And it’s perfectly safe when applied to the skin. However, just because an ingredient poses no harm to the skin doesn’t mean that it’s safe to inhale.
Unfortunately, black market dealers mix THC extracts with vitamin E acetate, which acts as a carrier oil and thickening agent. It’s a cheaper alternative to propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), the carrier oils most often used in legal vaping products. Illegal dealers care about maximizing profit over everything and have no consideration for the health of using these products.
According to a CDC report, 23 of 29 lung fluid samples tested positive for THC, while all 29 tested positive for vitamin E acetate, which is described as a sticky substance that may interfere with normal lung functioning – essentially, this oil is getting stuck in and clogging up the lungs of those who vape it. Respiratory symptoms include coughing, chest pains and shortness of breath. Researchers have also detected gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The advice is obvious: make sure you avoid illegal vape cartridges of any kind, and only purchase from reputable vendors.
Smoking vs vaping
Most smoking vs vaping research relates to tobacco cigarettes and nicotine-containing e-liquids. But the big take-home messages are just as applicable for vaping CBD-rich hemp and regular cannabis.
Vaping is safer because it simply heats the product, rather than burning it. This significantly reduces exposure to carcinogenic compounds found in smoke. As demonstrated in a 2004 study, vaporizing delivers cannabinoids efficiently, and leads to a “drastic reduction in pyrolytic smoke compounds.”
How to stay safe with CBD vaping
When buying CBD e-liquids, only purchase from brands who get their products independently tested. This is the only way to be sure that a product is safe for consumption, doesn’t contain THC, and has the right quantity of CBD.
Vape companies must take this step to set themselves apart from companies selling low-quality or fake vaping products, since the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the hemp-based CBD market.
If you’re still concerned about vaping e-liquids, why not enjoy an authentic vaping experience with CBD flower. Herbal vaporizers are compatible with CBD buds, and offer the full array of hemp benefits, and maximum flavor. Moreover, with so many strains to choose from, you can get the exact experience you want.
The vaping illnesses and deaths have caused a lot of angst and worry in the vaping community. Many fear that the long-term story of vaping will be just like that for cigarettes – something everyone thought was safe, but ultimately wasn’t. And the media certainly likes to play on this narrative.
But the evidence tells a much different story. Vaping is much, much safer than smoking, although not completely harmless. And the recent EVALI outbreak is due to illegal vape cartridges, made with unsafe ingredients.
Think of these cartridges as you would bootlegged alcohol. It’s not the vaping itself that’s causing the problem, but one troublesome ingredient in vitamin E acetate. Take the necessary precautions, and ensure you only purchase legitimate and tested products, and you’ll be just fine.