Special focus on "vaping-related illness," Part 1 of….?
At least one of the main causes – perhaps the main cause – of the cluster of serious respiratory illness effecting the country – with Utah one of the states notably impacted – is finally becoming clear in a series of breaking stories.
We've mentioned and our readers have commented on much of this in previous posts. What's new is that data is being systematically assembled and published in ways which make things clearer. We'll be sharing a number of these our next few posts, and expect even more will come out while we're doing so.
We're not trying to create any false suspense – we just have a lot of info to share, and you and we have limited time every day to absorb it all.
So here are the bottom lines:
1. The use of agents like Vitamin E acetate as a filler in mostly counterfeit cannabis vaping cartridges is the prime suspect in the outbreak.
2. Knowing this means most of the crisis should be able to be nearly halted in its tracks in fairly short order by getting them out of what's reaching users.
It's not entirely "simple." Shutting down the underground market isn't like just turning off a light bulb, but there are ways to educate the public, go after illicit actors, educating any "overground" sellers who may have been involved, perhaps just not understanding, etc. After all, "vitamin E" sounds like a good thing, right? The point, though, is there are concrete steps to take.
3. Nicotine vaping, while not totally exonerated, as there may be unethical players in that industry as well who are delivering dangerous goods to users, is far less implicated than was assumed even a few weeks ago.
4. The medical science is also beginning to be understood. Most cases are a type of "lipoid pneumonia" (again we credit some very sharp TRUCE readers for commenting on this early on), and Dr. Scott Aberegg, an associate director of medicine over the Pulmonary Care division at the University of Utah Health, is one of the leading researchers. As we'll get to a few posts in.
5. Perhaps most importantly, taking precipitous legislative action against legal forms of vaping not based on these emerging facts, and facts still be uncovered in the next weeks and months would be a terrible idea.
Driving people further into underground, illicit markets will not protect us as a society.
The crisis has been precipitated by bad actors doing what they do because prohibition maintains an underground market. Sensible regulation and oversight to protect all of us is what saves lives, not more prohibition and tough-sounding penalties.
So please follow our upcoming posts. We're here to share the best info available. (This is data legislators need to be aware of too so you're invited to share with them as well.)
#TRUCE: Working for you.