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Seigel: 44% of state vaping warnings on verge of committing ‘public health malpractice’

Dr. Michael Siegel is one of the most dedicated advocates of the vaping community who has been very vocal in his criticism of the government response to the “vaping-related” lung disease scandal in recent months.   Currently a Professor of Public Health at Boston University, he has also spent two years previously working as a research scientist in the field of tobacco analysis for the CDC.

In late September, Siegel blasted his former employer for failing to adequately and swiftly inform the general population that THC vaping is the direct cause of the respiratory scare rather than the vaping of convention FDA-regulated nicotine vapes.  Today, he is focusing his frustrations on state officials and their corresponding health departments who appear to be mimicking the CDC’s abysmal emergency response management strategies.

Only three states have ‘excellent’ ratings for their public warnings about vaping

Over the past few months, mainstream and social media has been inundated with grossly inaccurate headlines strongly implying that conventional, nicotine-based vapor products are to blame for an outbreak of mysterious lung injuries across the nation.  This spreading of misinformation is extremely damaging to public health, Siegel has stated on many occasions.  To put it simply, how can consumers protect themselves from a potentially terminal respiratory ailment if they are not being told its true cause?

To date, there are 25 states that have issued public health warnings about the crisis.  Dr. Siegel analyzed each of the state governments’ statements to determine if they had indeed explicitly warned of THC-vaping.  Since these explicit warnings can vary greatly regarding their sense of extreme urgency, Siegel classified all state responses into six different categories. 

Related Article:  Siegel: CDC ‘unnecessarily vague’ about THC role in vaping-linked lung ailments

Only three states – Connecticut, Maine, and Minnesota - received an Excellent rating, which means that they explicitly warned of vaping THC products while also acknowledging that Black Market marijuana-based cartridges are playing a major role in the outbreak.   A Good rating is given to those states which warn of THC vapor products but fall short of acknowledging that they play a critical role.

Connecticut, Maine, and Minnesota receive the lowest possible scores

The remaining four categories digress respectively based on the state’s reference of THC in their public health warnings.  For example, a Poor rating is granted to states that offer no explicit warning of THC vaping but rather a vague inference as almost an afterthought.

The most devastating rating of Public Health Malpractice is specially reserved to those states which refuse to even mention THC in their public statements.  Those three states are Connecticut, Maine, and Minnesota.  In an October 24 article posted in Tobacco Analysis, Dr. Siegel lists all 25 states and their corresponding ratings. 

 “The most striking finding of this analysis is that 3 states - Alabama, Illinois, and Kentucky - are committing public health malpractice by not even mentioning THC at all in their warnings. This is inexcusable and puts the lives and health of residents, especially youth, at risk.

The second most striking finding is that 11 of the 25 states (44%) are not explicitly warning the public not to vape black market THC cartridges. These states are (in addition to the 3 states above): California, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Montana.

In only 3 states are the warnings rated as excellent: Connecticut, Maine, and Minnesota.”

Siegel’s research is particularly noteworthy because several state governors are actively trying to implement statewide vaping bans through executive order, most of which focus almost exclusively on nicotine-based vaping.  State courts in New York, Oregon, and Michigan have already issued temporarily stays against the governors’ vaping bans, and a judge in Massachusetts even called Gov. Andrew Baker’s executive order outright “unlawful.”

Related Article:   In surprise decision, judge blocks New York vaping ban…for now

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