Statistics on vaping-related diseases and deaths rise almost daily, it seems.
- On August 23, the first vape-related death was found. This patient used vaping for the nicotine content.
- Another five deaths were reported within a month – some using vapes containing THC, others nicotine.
- On September 11, the Trump Administration pushed for a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes in the US because of the attraction to under-aged youth.
- By September 12, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a confirmed 26 states reported 380 cases of illness from vaping in addition to the six deaths.
- September 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced the first state ban on all flavored e-cigarettes, except tobacco and menthol. Michigan followed with their statewide ban.
- By September 26, The CDC stats rose to 805 cases of lung injury in 46 states and one territory. The death toll was 12 people.
- By October 4, the FDA published a statement, “[T]he agency believes it is prudent to stop using vaping products that contain THC or that have had any substances added to them, including those purchased from retail establishments. Simply put, inhaling harmful contaminants in the lungs could put a patient’s health at risk and should be avoided.” The FDA warning included purchasing vapes containing THC from retail stores or on the street.
Vaping-related diseases and deaths in Texas
These confirmed cases may be the first wave of a tsunami of illness and death from these innocent-appearing and marketed devices. It is notable that September 25th, the CEO of Juul, Kevin Bruns, stepped down from his position. Juul launched in 2015 and by 2017 had a larger e-cigarette market share than any other competitor, including the major tobacco companies. At the time Bruns resigned, Juul published a release stating Juul “suspended all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the US.”
As of October 9th, 95 cases of severe lung diseases were reported by Texas health officials. These patients reported vaping before symptoms began. One person died as a result according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDHS). Another 28 deaths possibly involving vaping are under investigation. These patients are between 13 and 75 years of age, with a median age of 22. One quarter of patients are minors. TDHS reported approximately 9 in 10 cases vaped marijuana or THC, though the dangers of nicotine are not insignificant and much is still to be researched.
Texas is a big state, with many students in the vulnerable ages of the vaping trend. The Texas A&M University system now bans e-cigarettes and vaping in every “building, outside space, parking lot, garage and laboratory” according to John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M system – this means all properties, not just the 11 universities. The University of Texas system also banned vaping in an overall tobacco ban in 2017, however, the American College Health Association recommends institutions go further. Since the wording might be misconstrued as applying only to traditional tobacco products, the association believes the wording must reflect strict no-tobacco language and include all methods of smoking, including e-cigarettes and vaping.
Will the bans help?
A USA TODAY/Ipsos poll showed 80% of people agree purchasing of vaping devices should not be allowed for people under 21. 59% of respondents believe the ban will lead users to the black market, while 82% of vapers think that is true. Users also say government regulations will not reduce users, according to another survey.
If you are vaping, consider your health and that of those around you. Statistics are not in your favor.