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Is ‘vaping-induced’ pneumonitis the next fictional scandal to hit vape industry?

What is beginning as a minor story published on an obscure medical website may end up being the newest conspiracy theory to hit the vaping community since the EVALI outbreak of 2019.  Claiming to have discovered a new type of ailment in young adults called vaping induced pneumonitis, a group of scientists from a small school in upstate New York are bragging about the results of their so-called research on MD Linx.

The press release promotes the co-authors’ more extensive study conspicuously named, Vaping induced pneumonitis: a small community hospital’s case series and analysis which is available via BMC Pulmonary Medicine.  Its very publication has all the earmarks of the EVALI scandal which was ultimately proven false by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) but only after months of bad press and finger pointing at the nicotine-based vapor industry (the real culprit behind the EVALI scandal of lung injuries was identified as Black Market THC-enhanced cartridges illegally laced with Vitamin E acetate).

Is ‘vaping-induced’ pneumonitis just EVALI renamed?

 

Each of the co-authors of the upstate New York study hail from the little-known Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, New York.  In their published findings, the researchers claim to have identified three cases of patients exhibiting symptoms of this supposedly new disorder called ‘vaping-induced’ pneumonitis.  And while the co-authors discuss each case in detail, they fail to mention precisely what each of the three patients were indeed vaping.  Was it nicotine-enhanced e-liquid, CBD oil, marijuana, or something else entirely?

But it gets worse.  Yes, the term “vaping” is yet again being bandied about in a very generic sense and by theoretically unbiased scientists nonetheless, which is eerily reminiscent of the EVALI accusations of 2019. That’s bad enough, but in this paper’s conclusionary section, the co-authors outright lie about some of their findings.

“Recently in the New England Journal Of Medicine, a study of 53 cases were reported with vaping induced pulmonary injury, similar to the cases presented at our community hospital [12]. Upon reviewing this retrospective case series, our findings further support the CDC’s recommendations to cease vaping until the etiology of lung injury is determined. No single substance or chemical is linked to the cause as of yet. More cases are being discovered around the world.”

The “53 cases” to which the New York researchers are referring stem from a prior study published in early 2019 during the first days of the mysterious outbreak of lung injuries which were then occurring at Ground Zero -  Wisconsin.  The term EVALI had not even been coined yet, and therefore, the referencing of this antiquated report from over a year ago is terribly misleading, at best.

Related Article:  ARRESTED: Wisconsin man accused of running illegal THC vape cartridge op

Furthermore, the co-authors readily admit that “vaping induced pulmonary” injuries (EVALI) is “similar to the cases presented at our community hospital”  which they are now creatively renaming vaping induced pneumonitis.  In other words, the two different medical conditions appear to be one-in-the-same.

The researchers also claim that “(n)o single substance or chemical is linked to the cause” of EVALI,” but the CDC has publicly acknowledged that nicotine-based vaping is not associated in any way to the lung disorder.  In a February 25 press release, CDC officials stated the following.

“Due to continued declines in new EVALI cases since September 2019, and the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, today’s release is the final biweekly CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally. CDC will continue to provide assistance to states, as needed, related to EVALI and will provide future updates as needed at: www.cdc.gov/lunginjury.”

Since the coronavirus crisis, the vaping community has enjoyed a brief respite from the seemingly never-ending onslaught of conspiratorial attacks by vaping-hating lobbyists.  However, today is the first day of the New York flavor ban which now criminalizes the sales of any flavored e-liquid, e-cigarette or products used in either open- or closed-system devices.  The enactment of the ban is a definitive sign that America is heading back to work, and that includes the anti-vaping legislators and their supporters.  Will “vaping induced pneumonitis” be the next big thing?

Related Article:  Did the CDC just confirm that vaping is NOT a gateway to teen smoking?

(Images courtesy of Shutterstock)

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