The media and other health officials seem to blame e-cigarettes for several deaths this year, including a recent death in Tennessee, but there is more to the story than they let on.
Experts say use of THC — and not e-cigarettes as originally manufactured — was a factor.
According to the Illinois-based Heartland Institute, the Tennessee Department of Health is only reporting hospitalizations due to e-cigarette use or vaping.
This, despite the CDC and other state health departments saying most patients with lung illnesses recently vaped illegal THC-containing devices, according to Heartland.
THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives a high sensation.
“TDH’s lack of transparency surrounding vaping-related lung illnesses is alarming. Further, the death reported in Tennessee was a Minnesota native who admitted to vaping devices containing THC and cannabidiol (CBD) oils,” Heartland reported.
“Although many states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have linked hospitalizations to illegal, unregulated THC vaping devices, several state health departments (including TDH) are fueling the fearmongering campaign regarding the use of e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, many state health departments (including TDH) are undermining the potential of electronic cigarettes as a tobacco harm reduction tool.”
The Tennessee man who died, Evhen Crooke, said the following on his Facebook page only hours before he passed away.
“I was just released from the hospital. After a week I’m so glad to be out. Turns out I was one of the lucky assholes to kill my lungs vaping THC and CBD carts. It was pretty touch and go for a few days, and the recovery is going to be a real long haul, but my doctors are confident I will recover over the next year. Chemical burns in the lungs are no joke,” Crooke wrote.
“This is why legalization and regulation is so important. Vote, vote, vote! And maybe avoid vaping weed for the time being,” he continued. “People are dying and I was way too close to being one of them. Thanks for all the well wishes! Couldn’t have made it through without my wonderful family and friends. Tell your loved ones they’re amazing!”
Heartland said that “despite recent headlines, e-cigarettes are substantially safer than traditional, combustible cigarettes.”
“The Royal College of Physicians, the same public health group the United States relied on for its 1964 Surgeon’s General report on smoking and health, noted that use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices is ‘unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the risk of harm from smoking tobacco,’” according to the website.
“Further, the American Cancer Society declared that ‘e-cigarette use is likely to be significantly less harmful for adults than smoking regular cigarettes.’ This is attributed to the fact that ‘e-cigarettes do not contain or burn tobacco.’”
Heartland said “it is imperative” that state health departments provide total transparency as it relates to vaping-related hospitalizations.
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