CDC finally admits dangers of THC vaping yet persists in using term ‘e-cigarettes’
According to a new official statement released Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is finally acknowledging that THC-containing vapor products are playing a major role in the recent outbreak of “vaping-related” lung injuries across the country. The CDC is now stating that approximately 84 percent of patients developed the respiratory condition after vaping such products.
The agency is also reporting 34 deaths in 24 states being linked to the medical condition with California, Minnesota, and Indiana having the highest per-state numbers at three each. As of October 22, some 1604 cases of respiratory injuries have been reported across 49 different states, which is a slight increase from the week prior. However, the CDC also suggests that the number of future diagnoses may be finally leveling off.
Other statistics indicate that about half of the medical diagnoses occurred in young, white males under the age of 25 with 79 percent of cases occurring in patients under the age of 35. CDC Director Robert R. Redfield issued the following comment in yesterday’s press release.
“It is evident from today’s report that these lung injuries are disproportionately affecting young people. As CDC receives additional data, a more defined picture of those impacted is taking shape. These new insights can help bring us a step closer to identifying the cause or causes of this outbreak.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has played a critical role in the development of this vaping-related scandal. While public health experts have been largely critical of the CDC’s emergency response strategies in recent weeks which tended to lump nicotine-based, FDA-regulated vapes into the same category as non-federally regulated THC products, FDA officials have been more proactive in their overall messaging campaign.
As far back as September 6, Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued a tweet that was much clearer about the cause of the vaping-related illnesses. Nearly two months ago, Gottlieb tweeted the following.
“Based on current reports it’s likely to be case most of the vaping injuries are related to illegal products and mostly THC and CBD. It’s not clear FDA can regulate vape pen not sold for use with tobacco nicotine. Congress may need to expand FDA’s authority.”
Many within the vaping advocacy community are growing increasingly more suspicious of the CDC’s actions surrounding this controversy. For example, Dr. Michael Siegel wrote in Tobacco Analysis that the Utah Department of Health had already determined “unequivocally” determined that contraband THC-enhanced products were the initial causational factor of the mysterious ailment. He then openly criticized the CDC for being “completely irresponsible” by refusing to acknowledge the differences between nicotine-based and THC-containing products when issuing its many public health warnings to the general population.
Why is the CDC still using the term ‘e-cigarette?’
Meanwhile, the CDC has given this strange, new lung disorder a very specific name: “E-cigarette, or Vaping, product use Associated Lung Injury,” or EVALI, for short. And the Monday press release by CDC officials is entitled, New CDC Report Provides First Analysis of Lung Injury Deaths Associated with Use of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Products.
Vaping advocates are noticing that the acronym THC does not appear in the press release’s title, but the word e-cigarette certainly does. In fact, the term e-cigarette even appears in the CDC-created name for the respiratory condition, too. Why is this noteworthy?
Because cannabis vapers rarely call their products by this name. An e-cigarette is typically defined as a closed system product like a Blu or Mistic over-the-counter product commonly sold in local convenience stores and gas stations. Most conventional nicotine-based vapers don’t even call their high-tech gadgetry by that term.
Yet, the CDC seems completely oblivious to its intended meaning. Public health experts like Dr. Michael Siegel are hypothesizing that something more nefarious may be at play at the CDC.
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