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Pulmonary Illnesses Update: October 11

Good afternoon and thank you for allowing us to continue keeping you informed on the recent outbreak of pulmonary illness in the United States.

Before we get to the news, please know that due to unfounded knee-jerk reactions to the situation in the States, British Columbia (on to 2nd reading), Alberta, and Nova Scotia are looking at revising their vape regulations and considering flavour bans due to pressure from health organizations.  If you live in these three provinces (or anywhere in Canada, really), please be sure to let your MLAs and health ministers know that eliquid flavours are important to your success in quitting smoking.  Kindly explain to them that the US pulmonary illnesses are not indicative of a trend in youth uptake as only 15% of those affected were below 18 years of age.  Let them know that the evidence from the CDC overwhelmingly still points to illegal THC products, which are completely different from regulated vaping products.

As active advocates for vaping rights, we're working with local shops, manufacturers, and the Canadian Vaping Association to engage policy makers provincially and federally to ensure flavours stay put.  From speaking with numerous other specialty vape shops across the country (all small businesses), sales are down overall between 20-40% on average, so we appreciate your continued support during this time, as we work hard to keep flavours and truthful information available for you.

Associated Press covers the view from the U.K.  

Dr. John Britton calls the U.S. reaction to their situation "complete madness" as they continue to champion vaping across the pond.

https://www.apnews.com/3ff4e419802144998ca31ae88029457b

Addiction Psychiatrist Dr. Sally Saltel discusses vaping on CNBC, calls it the "holy grail" for public health

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cXnOlN6OIU

From Health Canada (October 11):

While the severe pulmonary illnesses related to vaping are under investigation, we recommend to all Canadians that:

  • You consider refraining from using e-cigarettes or vaping products, particularly any products that have been purchased illegally, including any products that contain THC. Cannabis use has risks, some of which remain unknown and can have short- and long-term harms to your health, including dependence.
  • You see a healthcare provider immediately if you have recently used vaping products and you have symptoms of pulmonary illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) like those reported in the outbreak.
  • You not return to smoking cigarettes if you are using nicotine-containing vaping products as a means of quitting cigarette smoking.

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2019/10/statement-from-the-council-of-chief-medical-officers-of-health-on-vaping-in-canada.html?fbclid=IwAR2wTFq2A8nTno0iFX5Qq_AF6jRs-z37OSfNjIBfov50Aza-5_IajHqTktc

From the FDA (updated October 10):

  • Do not use vaping products that contain THC.
  • Do not use vaping products—particularly those containing THC—obtained off the street or from other illicit or social sources.
  • Do not modify or add any substances, such as THC or other oils, to vaping products, including those purchased through retail establishments.

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/vaping-illness-update-fda-warns-public-stop-using-tetrahydrocannabinol-thc-containing-vaping

The general messaging from the CDC remains the same. (Updated October 11)

  • Most patients report a history of using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products. The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.
  • Therefore, CDC recommends that you should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC.
  • Exclusive use of nicotine containing products has been reported by some patients with lung injury cases, and many patients with lung injury report combined use of THC- and nicotine-containing products. Therefore, the possibility that nicotine-containing products play a role in this outbreak cannot be excluded. (Note: THC is illegal in most States, therefore 100% of patients confessing to using it cannot reasonably be expected.  In several cases, patients that originally denied using later confirmed to have used illicit THC products.)

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

They have still not identified the cause or causes conclusively that link all cases, but continue to investigate.  The folks at NBC/CNBC have done their own research by purchasing some of the suspected bootleg THC products and found that they all contained numerous contaminants that should not be present in legal THC products, such as pesticides (E.g. myclobutanil, which releases hydrogen cyanide when heated to vapourizing temperatures) and 13 out of 15 contained tocopherol acetate, which can cause lipoid pneumonia.  

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/27/tests-show-bootleg-marijuana-vapes-tainted-with-hydrogen-cyanide.html

In case you missed this link in our previous update, Leafly did an excellent job detailing how these illegal THC products are being made and distributed, along with an in-depth look at their known contaminants (E.g. lead, lung irritating residual solvents (E.g. butane, pentane, hexane), etc.:

https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/vape-pen-injury-supply-chain-investigation-leafly

A friendly reminder too that TheraVape still does not use any of the aforementioned contaminants in our eliquids, and we never will.  Vape safely, stay warm, and enjoy your Thanksgiving long weekend!

-The TheraVape Team.



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