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Is vaping linked to lipid pneumonia or lipoid pneumonia? Not exactly.

Recent headlines have been making claims that after more than a decade of being on the market, all forms of vaping are all of a sudden linked to several new cases of lipid pneumonia (aka lipoid pneumonia) in specific parts of the US.  Meanwhile in the rest of the world, the same is not being experienced.  The cause of the headlines however is simply poor journalism and a knee-jerk reaction from the CDC blanket blaming all vaping products before they had sufficient data to make any claim at all.  They have since discovered that these cases involved blackmarket THC products specifically.  Unfortunately, headlines like "Never mind, false alarm.  Different product caused it..." don't get clicks or sell newspapers so the damage gets done and nobody bothers to clean up their mess.

Lipoid pneumonia is a rare respiratory illness that results from inhalation of oils/fats and can be fatal.  The reported cases all involved people using black market THC solutions that included a form of oil, which should never be vaporized for inhalation.  The vape industry and established reputable THC product manufacturers have long known about lipid pneumonia and collectively avoid using ingredients (flavourings) that contain any type of oil.  Although many people incorrectly refer to vegetable glycerin as vegetable oil which is a completely different substance, vegetable glycerin is NOT a fat or oil, and eliquid producers know better than to ever include oils for this exact reason.  Likewise, coil manufacturers know not to use silica in coil wick material because of the chance of developing a condition known as silicosis.  This is why cotton and rayon are the two most common wick materials used in coils today.

So what is the moral of the story?  Vaping homebrew products, especially for cannabis vaping, comes with its own very specific risk set.  If you care about your health, stick to trusted companies and avoid experimenting with anything that doesn't come with a basic ingredients list.  Also, we should all take any news headline with a grain of salt, and if you're interested, dig deeper into the real story or ask someone in the industry. Compare it against other markets and the relevant existing studies.  Journalistic standards aren't what they used to be and they tend to take a back seat nowadays in the competitive world of getting your attention.  News is big business and unfortunately, small markets like vaping become collateral damage as they blast out sensational headlines without any due diligence or research.



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  • Kelly on

    Thank you for posting on the recent vaping scare stories coming out everywhere in the media. This is pretty frightening to read about as a long term vape user. I also appreciate how quickly you’ve responded with not only unbiased info but also encouraging people to further research this topic.
    You’ve put my mind at ease and hopefully the media will report the actual facts and causes behind the recent deaths and near deaths.
    Thank you Theravape. Well done!


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