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

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are under fire for their public warnings about a surge of mysterious lung ailments allegedly linked to vaping.  Mainstream media picked up on the CDC announcement, and the story has gone viral across social media.  Only recently are the true, underlying facts starting to emerge, and they appear to involve the vaping of unregulated, cannabis-derived, and THC-enhanced substances.

While the vapor industry is under strict regulatory restrictions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since August 2016, the federal public health agency has virtually zero oversight of the medical and recreational marijuana industries.  This lack of accountability seems rather odd since the number of marijuana dispensaries popping up all over the country are quickly outnumbering the number of Mom and Pop vape shops. 

Related Article:  Illinois’ Heartland Institute: Mystery vaping illnesses ‘likely linked to Black Markets’

In an August 28 interview with USA Today, Boston University public health professor Michael Siegel says that the CDC is being “unintentionally vague” when discussing the particular symptoms and related lung injuries of these mysterious ailments.   He also questions why the CDC has is not issuing warnings specially targeting the vaping of THC.

“Based on what we know now, I think there’s enough to tell people: Don’t vape THC oils – especially products that are bought off the street…There are certain things the agency could be recommending right now that could potentially save lives and prevent this from happening by being much more specific.”

Although Siegel acknowledges that the CDC may be investigating multiple culprits other than THC, he still wonders why the agency continues to promote such an easily disprovable argument that vaping itself is the likely cause.  In fact, the public reputation of the CDC would benefit greatly in the long-term if it would just come clean sooner rather than later.

“There are millions of people vaping out there…When they get this advice ‘Well, we don’t know what it is; it’s vaping,’ that doesn’t help anyone. So, I think they need to try to be specific."

Both NBC News and CBS News are now reporting that nearly 90 percent of the cases currently under investigation in Wisconsin involved patients who openly admit to vaping unregulated THC products.  Meanwhile, The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that at least 21 cases of the severe lung disorder in the Bay Area can be directly attributed to the vaping of unregulated marijuana oils.  If traditional newspaper outlets can uncover the gruesome details, why is the CDC taking so long to admit that its initial warnings are unsubstantiated?   

Related Article:  NBC, CBS report THC found in 89% of lung diseases ‘linked to vaping’

(Image courtesy of Boston University)

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