Siegel: CDC is doing ‘absolutely nothing’ to warn public of real health threat – Black Market vaping

In a recent statement, Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University Michael Siegel is accusing the CDC of acting irresponsibility in its issuance of public health warnings in recent weeks. Instead of warning the vaping community of using Black Market THC products, the CDC is issuing intentionally generic statements about vaping that “any sixth grade student” could write. 

When a series of medical diagnoses involving a mysterious lung ailment first began appearing in Wisconsin in late July, the CDC instantly began conducting preliminary research.  Even though the scientific evidence almost immediately pointed to the illegal vaping of contraband THC cartridges, the CDC issued a significantly watered-down version of the public health threat looming over the vaping community.  Per the online journal Tobacco Analysis, Dr. Siegel suggests that the CDC statement was grossly oversimplified: “This outbreak is associated with vaping. If you want to avoid getting sick, you should avoid vaping.”

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Eight weeks later, that message remains unchanged – which is precisely Dr. Seigel’s point. How is it that the nation’s top public health agency with access to the most advanced scientific technologies and medical expertise has the audacity to release such a nonspecific public health “warning” about a potentially terminal respiratory condition supposedly plaquing the teenage population of America? 

“Frankly, it didn't take a rocket epidemiologist to issue the same warning that the CDC is now issuing. Any guy off the street could tell the public that the outbreak is associated with vaping and that to avoid it, you should refrain from vaping. After all, the name itself tells you that: ‘vaping-associated respiratory illness.’” 

Nowhere in the official CDC public statements are bold references to the vaporization of contraband cannabis oils and cartridges.  Instead, the CDC seems to be strongly implying that the usage of conventional nicotine vapes – products that are already FDA-regulated – might also be a direct causational link to the mysterious lung disorder.

Even after nearly two-months of so-called investigation, the CDC’s message remains firm.  Vaping – of everything- should be avoided at all costs.

CDC’s lack of specificity is dangerous to public health

It’s this intentional lack of specificity, Siegel believes, that is living proof that the CDC is failing miserably in its critical role to protect the American People from a true and scientifically documented public health threat – the vaporization of THC-enhanced products.

“Any sixth-grade student, without any training in epidemiology, could have told us that all the way back on August 1. After all, the case definition requires that a patient must have a history of vaping. So by definition, every case that occurs is going to be associated with vaping, and if you don't vape, you cannot - by definition - get the disease."

"I think that the CDC is not doing its job if after eight weeks of investigation, it cannot tell us anything more than some guy off the street."

Siegel then goes on to blast the CDC for refusing to provide more detailed information and perhaps better insights into how the average vaper should avoid contacting the specific respiratory disorder-in-question that is apparently terminal in at least eight cases.  It’s obvious that the avoidance of electronic cigarettes entirely should curtail the health risks altogether, but after eight weeks, why isn’t the CDC being more explicit in its warnings?  Why isn’t the CDC telling the American People what specifically NOT to vape? 

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