“As expected, reports of people being hospitalized due to a “mystery lung disease” continue to grow. The non-communicable lung disease that is increasingly being linked to products such as K2/Spice and/or adulterated THC cartridges–sold by underground sellers–is now under investigation in 22 states including CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, IA, MN, MI, NC, NJ, NM, NY, PA, TX, UT, WI, and as of Thursday, Colorado has its first confirmed case.
As of Friday morning, one death in Illinois is being attributed to an unknown substance that people are consuming by way of vaping. CASAA extends our condolences to the family and share in everyone’s disappointment in knowing that this tragic death could have been prevented if more compassionate policies were in place.
In last week’s Heads Up Round Up we briefly highlighted the concern that state and federal drug policy is complicating diagnosis, patient care, and accurate reporting about these clusters of lung disease. But in the wake of these reported illnesses, almost all of the usual anti-tobacco campaigners are using this event to elevate their cries for an all-out ban on nicotine vaping products–especially e-liquids sold in flavors other than tobacco.
Anti-tobacco campaigners are advocating for policies that will do absolutely nothing to prevent events like this in the future. Rather, it is more likely that heavy regulation–even if it isn’t total prohibition–will lead to more instances of people being harmed by fake pot, adulterated THC, or poorly manufactured nicotine products sold on an unregulated, illicit market. According to an article on TechCrunch, the FDA is still uncertain if the products being used even fall under the agency’s regulatory authority.
CASAA is reaffirming our advice to consumers that vapor products (THC and nicotine) should be purchased from reputable sources and not “on the street.” We also note that the terminology used to discuss this issue can benefit from including a clear distinction between nicotine vaping, THC/cannabis vaping, and synthetic cannabinoid vaping (k2/spice). Simply reporting that a mysterious lung disease is generally attributable to “vaping” will have harmful unintended consequences such as sending people back to combustible tobacco or discouraging them from making the switch at all.”
Alex Clark, CEO