News going viral can be a good thing. When it concerns natural disasters or imminent attacks, early warnings on social media can be helpful in getting people to safety. On the other hand, when misinformation goes unchecked and runs wild, it can have terrible, unintended consequences.
Following a reported spike in lung-related illnesses due to vapes exactly one month ago, news stations lumped all vapes together — including the most popular brand right now, Juul — into one category. In reality, even early reports specifically pointed toward illicit cannabis cartridges as the most likely culprit. Now, the CDC finally acknowledged Friday that a vast majority of the mysterious, vaping-related lung illnesses are in fact linked to black-market cannabis products — not nicotine.
Of course, the damage has already been done. New York City has stopped selling all flavored nicotine products, with other cities likely to follow, following Michigan’s lead as the first to do so in the country. San Francisco has banned the sale of Juul outright.
Reports Metro Times, “Of the patients who reported what product they vaped, only 16% said they only used nicotine. But health officials say that number is likely lower because people are reluctant to admit using cannabis.”
“This confusion is leading to bad public policy,” Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health services at Boston University, told Metro Times last week. “Instead of intervening to try to stem the distribution of illegal, black market THC vape cartridges that are filled with oil, policy makers are banning flavored e-cigarettes, which so far as we know, are not clearly associated with the outbreak. Banning these products is going to cause many ex-smokers to return to smoking and is also going to create a new black market for flavored e-liquids. Worst of all, it is going to lead many youth to switch from vaping flavored e-liquids to vaping marijuana, making the outbreak much worse than it already is.”
No single product has been linked to the illnesses, but black market cannabis cartridges bearing the brands Dank Vapes, Off White, TKO, and Moon Rocks appear to be the most prevalent. Vitamin E acetate, a compound found in many of the cannabis juices, also appears to bear some correlation.
via Metro Times