The evidence is mounting that vaping — whether marijuana or tobacco oils — is a public health danger.
How many more people will die before action is taken?
This week, public health officials in Oregon said a person died of a severe respiratory illness after inhaling an electronic cigarette containing marijuana oil from a legal dispensary. It was the second death linked to vaping nationwide and the first tied to a vaping product bought at a pot shop, according to The Associated Press. A third death, this time in Indiana, was reported today.
As of today, 450 possible cases of severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes have been reported by 33 states, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first vaping death in the nation occurred in Illinois. The person contracted a serious lung disease, although it is not known if the e-cigarette contained marijuana oil or just nicotine.
Either way, this is very concerning.
If any product on the market was causing these kinds of health problems — and three deaths — it would be pulled from the market immediately. Yet, hand wringing seems to be the only action.
Why? Our guess is that it’s for the same reason that tobacco related illness and deaths continue despite clear evidence that tobacco use causes lung disease, cancer and other health problems. There is huge money made selling cigarettes and Big Tobacco has the money to fight — and win — efforts to eliminate it as a legal product.
Vaping is in the same boat — albeit a smaller one — and many fear rocking that boat.
Still, some big waves might be coming, particularly if more deaths occur.
The state of Michigan is now considering banning candy flavored vaping liquid as a way to sway kids from getting hooked.
And U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said he will introduce legislation next week that would tax e-cigarettes in the same way as traditional cigarettes to reduce the appeal to teenagers who are increasingly taking up the popular smoking alternative.
“The products are highly addictive. They’re subject to minimal safety standards and oversights, exposing users to dangerous chemicals ... and they are getting into the hands of more and more young people,” Wyden said.
That’s the direction society needs to go before this serious health concern grows any further.