Among those concerned about vaping, 2019 might be remembered as the year that many people were alerted to the “true” dangers of vaping. The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported over 1,000 cases of Evali, a vaping-associated lung injury.
Of the people affected, 34 have died, the CDC revealed. However, while the catastrophic effects of these deaths to the victims’ families shouldn’t be understated, the real question shouldn’t be whether vaping is dangerous but whether it remains safer than conventional tobacco smoking.
So, what’s the bad press?
According to the CDC, 86% of the people who fell ill as a result of vaping had, during the three months prior, used THC products. The term THC is shorthand for tetrahydrocannabinol, a cannabis compound which is psychoactive – hence why it’s responsible for making cannabis users “high”.
However, it’s important to remember that not all cannabis compounds, of which there are over a hundred, are as dangerous as THC. It has actually been outlawed in most countries, which could help to explain why countries other than the US are not similarly reporting Evali outbreaks.
While the CDC has not reached a definite conclusion about what caused the deaths, the organization has suggested vitamin E acetate, a thickener of THC oil, as a possible culprit.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
Well, more to the point, you should think twice about throwing the e-cigarette out with any THC-containing liquid that might have been obtained for it. Abigail Friedman, an Assistant Professor of Public Health at the Yale School of Medicine, has emphasized in words quoted by The Atlantic: “An e-cigarette is fundamentally a device, not a substance.”
She continued: “One thing that I think is really confusing people is that vaping just means using an e-cigarette. It doesn’t tell you what people put in it. You could put water in an e-cigarette, right?”
The elephant in the room: the dangers of smoking
Research into vaping has not confirmed, as is unlikely anyway, that it is entirely safe. However, vaping’s effects must still be compared and contrasted with those of smoking, which still claims around eight million lives every year. Switching to e-cigarettes can help people to wean themselves off smoking.
This is because vaping offers a sensory experience similar to smoking conventional cigarettes. In this way, vaping is akin to nicotine replacement therapy, another tried-and-tested approach to kicking the smoking habit. In an article for the Independent, Caitlin Notley, a senior lecturer in Mental Health at the University of East Anglia, compares research into vaping and tobacco smoking.
Whereas tobacco smoke contains roughly 7,000 chemicals, only six chemicals – on average – were found in a sample of e-liquids in a Canadian study.
While recent negative publicity has led countries globally to consider restricting or banning vaping, CBD oil of a specific, approved composition remains legal to buy in the UK, as Cosmopolitan notes. Research bodes well for the health benefits of vape-ready CBD oil available from UK firms like VSAVI.