What You Need To Know About Counterfeit Vape Pens And Lung Disease

There's a lot to know about counterfeit vape pens and the risk of lung disease. Read on for more information

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November 29, 2019
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More information has emerged about the vaping health threat, which has sickened over 1,600 individuals and resulted in the deaths of more than 30 people in the United States.

Vaping is potentially fatal. However, it’s possible to avoid illness and death by purchasing only authentic products.

Youth – despite the generation – are always looking for a way to stand out, and many of today’s younger generation manages more than their share of anxiety and stress in coping with life, while simultaneously trying to prepare for the future.

Relatively recently, vaping has served as the latest way that teens have chosen to relieve stress and exert their independence. Fortunately, however, it appears that many teens have started to heed the warnings of public health officials advising people to stop using vaping products.

Death and Illness Are Declining

Since October 2019, physicians have treated 125 individuals and reported one death due to complications resulting from vaping. To date, public health officials aren’t sure why people are getting sick. However, the latest studies suggest that the cause is most likely linked to THC vape products – especially illegal ones, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Now, CDC representatives are examining the heating process used for vaping to try to figure out if it contributes to the illness that’s sickening the public. The agency has tentatively named the illness “e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury” (EVALI).

CDC investigators are also trying to establish how the vaping epidemic began. Although consumers have been vaping for several years, the first illnesses emerged in April 2019 and ramped up quickly in July of the same year. A CDC spokesperson hypothesizes that e-cigarettes may have provided teens with the opportunity to experiment with more dangerous substances, which in turn led to the vaping related illness outbreak.

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Bogus Cartridges May Have Caused Deaths

A September 2019 test conducted by NBC News revealed that 15 out of 15 bootleg vaping cartridges contained a fungicide that when heated can turn into cyanide – a highly lethal poison. Also, 13 out of 15 of the cartridges contained a vitamin E-based cutting solvent used for cannabis vape products. NBC also tested three cannabis vape cartridges obtained from legal California dispensaries.

All the legal cartridges – both nicotine and cannabis-based – tested by the news agency were proven safe. However, the illegal vaping products, like many black-market items, contained dangerous chemicals that can harm consumers.

Motley Fool reports that the e-cigarette vertical took a beating in August 2019 with news of the emerging vaping epidemic and Philip Morris International’s withdraw from talks with another manufacturer regarding entering the industry. Cited the article, an elicit THC-infused vape product called Dank may have been behind the sudden rise in vaping related illnesses.

The problem is that Dank is not a real manufacturer. It’s a label that anybody can purchase online at a relatively low cost. They can then create whatever they want to sell. This kind of illegal operation typically has no quality control standards, and illegal manufacturers may use harmful chemicals despite the risk to the public.

If You Must Vape, Stay Away From Bootleg Cartridges

A September 2019 Rolling Stone expose urged readers to discard any illegal vape cartridges, whether nicotine or cannabis-based. Such products, advised the article, carry an increased risk of causing lung damage. Around the same time, the American Medical Association recommended that consumers stop using all vape products.

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Meanwhile, a story published in Leafly that same month suggested in late 2018 and throughout 2019 bootleg vape manufacturers started using a harmful product called Honey Cut, which legal manufacturers use to dilute THC oil. The publication also urged anyone who has used a bootleg vape product recently and has exhibited shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, weakness or tiredness to visit a physician immediately.

The Company That Started It All Is Now Hemorrhaging Money

In October 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that Juul officials plan to slash 500 jobs by the end of the year ahead of a proposed federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes. If the ban succeeds, it will effectively shut down 80% of the company’s U.S. sales. The article reports that the total number of job cuts could range from 10% to 15% of the manufacture’s workforce. However, those numbers aren’t substantiated.

Meanwhile, Juul’s sales have dropped significantly since the CDC announcement of the vaping epidemic. As the company attempts to recoup its losses by expanding into international markets, United States officials vow to make a more intensified effort to curtail the entire industry.