As the summer of 2019 drew to a close, the cannabis industry fixated on a rash of illnesses linked to vaping products. The focus has only grown more pronounced. As of Oct. 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported more than 1,400 cases of vaping-related pulmonary disease and at least 33 deaths.
While the illnesses are linked to vaping products (and increasing in number every day), the science is still a murkier subject. State health officials and independent researchers are grappling with a fundamental problem: If the source of these illnesses is found in the illicit vape market, as investigations indicate, then how can the scientific community and law enforcement effectively prevent the spread of this disease?
What sort of public education responsibility falls to licensed cannabis businesses?
Here, we’re reserving a page on Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary’s websites to maintain our record of how this story is unfolding. You’ll find our growing archive of news stories below, and we’ll continually update this page with the latest information and perspectives on this industry problem.
From the CDC:
What is causing this outbreak of lung injury?
The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time.
No single product or substance has been linked to all lung injury cases. The outbreak is occurring in the context of a dynamic marketplace for e-cigarette or vaping products, which may have a mix of ingredients, complex packaging and supply chains, and include potentially illicit substances. Users may not know what is in their e-cigarette or e-liquid solutions. Many of the products and substances can be modified by suppliers or users. They can be obtained from stores, online retailers, from informal sources (e.g. friends, family members), or “off the street.”
More information is needed to know whether one or more e-cigarette or vaping products, substances, or brand is responsible for the outbreak.