What Vapers Need to Know About the Flavored Vape Ban

Illegal THC Cartridge
Illicit THC cartridges sold on the black market lead to lung injury.

What Vapers Need to Know About the Flavored Vape Ban

Irresponsible reporting by major news media outlets and misleading warnings from public health agencies have created a nation in the grips of panic and a rampant cycle of misinformation about vaping. Government agencies and the media continue to launch baseless attacks on vaping and electronic cigarettes or ‘e-cigarettes’, despite studies indicating that the vast majority of respiratory injuries resulted from the use of contaminated black market tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products. This has created the misconception that e-cigarettes – which have been widely used for over a decade to help millions of people with smoking cessation – pose a threat to public health. Here’s what you need to know to cut through the media noise and understand the facts.

The Facts

Authorities are scrambling to understand a recent rash of mysterious lung illnesses and deaths that have been broadly linked to the vaping industry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that since April 2019, 1,299 lung-injury cases and several deaths have been reported from all 49 states except for Alaska. A study by the Mayo Clinic of 17 affected patients revealed inflammation and acute lung injury that resembled chemical burning or exposure to toxic chemicals.

Public health experts have yet to determine a definitive cause for these illnesses (which will likely take months). However, the indisputable reality is that the overwhelming majority of the cases involves vape products containing illegal THC oil.

 A report released by the CDC indicates that most of these pre-filled THC cartridges were purchased from the black market. The Food and Drug Administration reported that most of the cartridges contained marijuana derivatives that were emulsified with vitamin E acetate (which is not used in legally manufactured e-cigarettes).

The Misinformation

Despite the scientific data that illegal and user-innovated products were to blame for the epidemic – which explains the time-consuming task of gathering information – the Trump administration called on the FDA to issue a federal ban on flavored vape products. The President’s theory behind the decision – which is common among people who neither smoke nor vape – is that flavored cartridges appeal only to children. This could not be further from the truth. Studies have shown that the majority of adult vapers prefer flavored products, with the FDA even acknowledging “…the role that flavors may play in helping some smokers switch to potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery.”

Nevertheless, President Trump’s announcement created a trickling effect across the country. One after another, states began issuing bans on vaping, with corporations soon following suit: in September 2019, Walmart announced plans to discontinue sales of e-cigarettes, citing “…complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes.”

National news sources and lawmakers continued to fuel sensationalized hysteria about the dangers of vaping. But they were oddly silent about another story emerging out of Wisconsin: the massive bust of one of the largest illegal vaping operations in the country. It was allegedly manufacturing and selling up to 50,000 THC-enhanced vape cartridges per day.

The Consequences

Most of what is known about (legal) vaping suggests that it helps to save lives. In a randomized controlled trial, the UK’s National Health Service discovered that vapers were twice as likely to successfully quit smoking as those pursuing traditional nicotine-replacement therapy.

It is important to note that there are roughly 41 million adults across the world who vape, with over 10 million vapers living in the United States. A ban on legally-manufactured flavored vape products not only fails to address the underlying causes of the lung illness epidemic, but it also creates serious problems for those who rely on vaping to quit smoking tobacco.

Moving Forward

This recent epidemic has clouded the very simple facts of the matter:

  • Illegal THC cartridges are patently unsafe
  • E-cigarettes are still a safer alternative to smoking tobacco

Check back on this page for updates on how to stay better informed about your rights and the vital decisions you make as a legal vape product user.