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Since its inception, vaping has been a point of contention. Some would argue that the vaporized e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to smoking, while others argue that the hot new product is too appealing to teens. Proponents on both sides have been flakey on the science and safety of vaping. Until now.
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center to investigate hundreds of severe lung illnesses and several deaths related to vaping. At the time of publishing, there were at least 11 confirmed fatalities caused by vaping. Over 500 people have developed a new and devastating lung disease resembling pneumonia.
Historically, the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center has been reserved for major health emergencies, including major hurricanes, the recent Zika virus outbreak, and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Some states – including California – have warned people to stop vaping immediately.
We are seeing something that we have not seen before,” said California Department of Public Health’s Dr. Charity Dean. “There are numerous unknown factors at this time, and due to the uncertainty of the exact cause, it is our recommendation that consumers refrain from vaping until the investigation has concluded.”
Over the past few months, hundreds of people have been hospitalized with a new and dangerous lung disease linked to vaping. Victims have used products that are flavored and unflavored containing both nicotine and THC. The indication is that the delivery system (vaping) is to blame, NOT the contents.
People are getting sick and some are dying as a result of vaping,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom this week. Californians are encouraged to stop vaping until health officials fully understand what’s causing this public health crisis.”
Although the vaping deaths were originally isolated to California, deaths have recently been reported in Georgia and Florida indicating a nation-wide health crisis. Kansas has reported 2 fatalities so far.
State and federal governments have increased pressure to ban flavored vape products, which are associated with teen use. Massachusetts recently imposed a ban on all vaping products, while nations including Israel and India have also halted the sale of certain vape products. Both the CDC and the FDA have recommended that consumers avoid the use of any and all vaping products.
[The] CDC has made it a priority to find out what is causing this outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-related injuries and deaths,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield in a statement.
There have been nearly 50 lawsuits regarding vaping-related injury, and it seems that many more are to follow. Joseph VanZandt, a lawyer with the firm of Beasley Allen, represents hundreds of clients who have been injured by vaping.
We fully expect that there will be hundreds if not thousands of individual cases filed,” he said.
The primary defendant in these cases has been Juul Laboratories, which controls about 75% of the U.S. market. Other defendants include Altria Group Inc, the parent company of Marlboro and a minority stakeholder in Juul. CEO Kevin Burns abruptly stepped down as the potential for a nationwide ban increased. Tobacco giant Phillip Morris abandoned a $200 billion merger with Altria, attempting to distance itself from the vaping industry.
Like other e-cigarette companies, Juul has been accused of aggressively marketing to minors. Now, it seems that the company may be killing its consumer base.
Although e-cigarettes originally seemed like an anti-smoking breakthrough, there have been some unintended consequences. As the market grew, so did the user base. And vaping found a new and profitable demographic in young people – especially teens.
The U.S. Surgeon General has described teen use of e-cigarettes as an “epidemic” and the CDC estimates that more than 1 in 5 middle and high school teens use them. For the past few years, regulators have been trying to stop manufacturers from marketing them to children, but to little avail. While there have been some promising new laws, the progress has been slow.
Companies often use sweet, fruity flavors to make their products more attractive, and the use of cartoon characters to sell the products is common. The e-cig industry has ballooned over the past several years and is exempt from the regulations imposed on tobacco products. And Juul has been the biggest beneficiary of the market boom.
E-Cig Profits Soar
A 2018 study published in JAMA showed that the e-cigarette industry has grown exponentially in just a few short years. In 2011, global spending on vape products was around $2 billion. In 2018, that number is closer to $15 billion – and expected to grow substantially in 2019.
Juul, which spun off from PAX Labs in 2017, is a San Francisco-based company. Their product has been on the market since June of 2015 and is now the most popular e-cigarette in the U.S. with a market share of nearly 75%. In late 2018, Juul sold 35% of its stake to Marlboro manufacturer Altria at a valuation of $38 billion. Their staff has grown from 200 to 2,000 employees in the last year, and they’ve invested heavily in their hometown of San Francisco.
Just this summer, Juul closed on a 29-floor building in the downtown area worth an estimated $400 million. It was the largest real estate purchase in history by a San Francisco company that was not in the real estate business.
The Science Behind E-Cigarettes
While vaporized nicotine avoids many of the cancer-causing chemicals found in conventional tobacco products, the long-term effects have not been studied. E-cigarettes have been shown to help adults quit smoking, but a growing body of evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may be plenty harmful on their own.
One study found that the nicotine-infused liquids used in e-cigarettes becomes much more toxic when vaporized, adversely affecting our immune system’s ability to clear our lungs and prevent harmful chemical buildups. Many studies evaluate the liquid before it’s vaporized, leading to different results.
Another study found that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor experienced DNA damage in their lungs, bladder, and heart, raising the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Human lung and bladder cells that were exposed to an equivalent of ten years showed the same damage, suggesting that long-term exposure to e-cigarettes could directly contribute to the two leading causes of death in the U.S.
According to a recent article published in Science News magazine, significant amounts of cancer-causing chemicals such as formaldehyde are absorbed by the respiratory tract during a typical vaping session, underscoring the potential health risks posed by vaping.
A recent study from Birmingham University indicates that users could be putting themselves at risk for developing lung disease. That’s because the nicotine-infused liquids used in e-cigarettes become much more toxic when vaporized, adversely affecting our immune system’s ability to clear our lungs and prevent harmful chemical buildups.
Since most of the research on e-cigarette safety has looked at chemicals in fluids before they vaporize, some experts feel that the health risks associated with regular vaping may have been underestimated.
A study carried out at the New York University School of Medicine has shown that when compared to mice that breathed filtered air, mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor experienced DNA damage in their lungs, bladder, and heart – which raises their risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
What’s more, exposure to e-cigarette vapor was seen to block repair processes that normally keep DNA intact and healthy. Similar effects were also seen in cultured human lung and bladder cells that had been exposed to e-cigarette vapor for the equivalent of ten years.
The Consequences of Vaping
But the new lung disease caused by vaping is very real… and very dangerous. The symptoms of the new scourge tend to worsen over time and include coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors have recommended that anyone who suffer breathing problems like dry cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain after vaping should seek medical attention immediately.
Although health professionals suspect that the deadly affliction is caused by a chemical exposure in the lungs, they still haven’t confirmed the cause. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Patients suffer from shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain, and some also experience gastrointestinal issues, fever and weight loss. Most chest X-rays or CT scans show hazy, white opaque areas in the lungs, but there’s typically no infection. Almost all patients are hospitalized, and many require help breathing.”
Until now, vaping had been seen as the best way to help with smoking cessation. Opponents worried that teen vaping would eventually lead to cigarette use, but very few had genuine concerns about product safety. But the curtain has been lifted.
Some would blame THC, a cannabinoid often used in vape products, but that theory has already been debunked. Many of the victims of this new disease were not using THC products. Even nicotine, which has been thoroughly villainized, is not to blame. What you smoke is not the problem; something is wrong with your vape pen.
As we’ve seen countless times before, the bottom line is more important than human lives. These products have been rushed onto our shelves with very little oversight. Like big tobacco before them, the e-cigarette industry has enjoyed extremely relaxed regulation while generating enormous profits. Juul is worth over $100 billion, but already we’re beginning to see the body count escalate.
Vaping has become an international phenomenon, exploding by 7-fold in just the last year. But the greed of these companies and the apathy of our regulatory bodies has led to a national health crisis that may get worse before it gets better.
As more and more children take up the habit and people continue to die, there’s only one question to ask these companies: what are you smoking?
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Dennise Waldron says
Thank you for a very interesting article. Thank heaven I stopped smoking years ago and went “cold turkey” without any help.
Customer Support says
Wow! That couldn’t have been easy. We’re so proud of you, Dennise!
Blessings and love!
Here in Canada, all vaping products are strictly regulated and cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 19, the same as any tobacco products. I have to partially disagree with your statement that it’s the delivery system NOT the contents. I think both are to blame when you allow children to purchase cheap, inferior quality products from overseas. We have not seen the same effects here in Canada where high quality vaping products are sold. My husband is vaping to try and kick a 30 year habit of smoking cigarettes and it’s working for him. Would you prefer the younger generation pick up cigarettes instead and fall victim to lung, throat and other forms of cancer?
Customer Service says
Hi Pauline, you make a great point. We are eager to see the findings once they investigate this more thoroughly. But we wouldn’t recommend picking a “lesser evil” in this scenario. The goal of The Truth About Cancer is to discuss and expose all things that are possibly carcinogenic or harmful to our health in hopes that our readers may make a more informed decision. We hope that this article brought to light some of the issues, and we will be watching this story closely. Wishing you health and wellness!
Robert Thornrose says
Vaping is worldwide why is the only problem in U.S ? Quit cigs after 40yrs by vaping nothing else worked.Have vaped for 7 yrs no problem.As far as flavors I never liked tobacco flavors.To ban vaping because flavors attract the youth is not the answer.No one talks about banning cigarettes and they kill a half a million a year.How about flavored alcohol…Parent should know what their children are doing.!Take some Responsibility..search the room you let them stay in, book bag and clothing.Do not want to invade their privacy ? Then do not complain…It is illegal to sell vape products to children…
I do not vape and do not care for it, however, quoting from the CDC and it’s alarmist release is laughable. The same CDC that LIES ABOUT VACCINES AND CANCER TREATMENTS! Why should we believe anything they publish, ever. They have no credibility whatsoever. Now, commonsense would lead one to believe that vaporizing chemicals and putting them in your lungs is not a good thing, but people should be allowed to do what they want to their own bodies. Calling for government regulation is absurd. One, they have no lawful authority, nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given the authority to regulate these products. Calling for regulation of products like vape products while railing against these same regulatory bodies for their quashing of the health freedom and choice movement and alternative medicine is hypocritical. Remember, the rule that they make against something you do not like, may be the rule they use against you tomorrow.
Customer Service says
Hi Linda, we appreciate your feedback. We are quoting the CDC because they have the most current nationwide data on this particular issue. We also let people know that they’ve taken a rare step in activating the Emergency Operations Center to figure out what’s causing the issues. We believe that it’s important to quote data sets from the agencies that collect them, even when we don’t always agree with their conclusions and decisions. In regards to regulation, yes, we have suggested honest and transparent regulation in the past. Regulation of GMO markets. Regulation of herbicides and pesticides. Better safety standards for drug and vaccine testing. Most importantly, we hope to provide our readers with the latest information and data so that we can all make the most informed decisions possible. Many blessings!
I have been vaping for 8 yrs. My parents vape. My brothers vape. None of us have had adverse reactions. We don’t build our own vapes. We don’t subject ourselves to high heat vaping. And we dont buy juice from China. Kids are gonna smoke! Cigarettes or vapes? If my kid is smoking behind my back I’d rather he be vaping because it’s scientifically proven 85%-93% cleaner and the only secondary byproduct is water vapor. Be careful where you get your information. The tobacco companies want their money back! Don’t fall for the fear and terrorism the media is putting out there. My Dad was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary disease so he quit smoking cigarettes and switched to vaping. No more lung disease. Explain that. I have spinal degenerative disease and narrowing. Since stopping smoking and starting to vape I feel better. That’s all the evidence I need. Not to mention my lung scans are clean. Report that! We deserve the right to choose. I don’t wanna smell like tobacco so I enjoy flavors. It keeps me from eating lots of desserts too. That helps keep the weight off. Win win!!!!! A lot of these reports are due to one companies negligence (something Honey Raw something) and I wouldn’t be surprised if they find a tobacco company behind it all.
YES! Finally someone who truly understands. Thank you! Been vaping for 10 years now, zero problems.
For all you scare mongers out there here’s something to think about.
Your sick, you add some essential oil to a bowl of hot water and then place a towel over your head and breathe in the vapors.
What is this? Yep, it a homemade vaporizer!
Breathing is a form of vaporization!
Using essential oils in a atomizer is no different than vaping!
It’s what you vape that can hurt you, common sense folks, common sense.
Like anything else if you eat, breathe, or smoke poison, yes it will hurt you!
Thank you Pooh, it’s nice to see others who truly understand what a wonderful gift vaping is when used responsibly.
Where do I begin?
Let’s start with claiming these illnesses and deaths are due to vaping.
Over the counter nicotine vaping products are Lipophobic. This means they don’t mix with oils.
Legitimate producers of nicotine eliquids know better than to try and use oils in their products for 2 reasons:
1. They don’t mix.
2. Oils cause Lipid Pneumonia.
There are NO ingredients in over the counter nicotine eliquids that can cause illnesses as described, nor as you’ve described here in this article.
Instead of dumping hundreds upon hundreds of studies, how about I sum it up as simply as this:
Why aren’t these illnesses and deaths happening in the UK?
Customer Service says
Hi Sean, thanks for your comment. Our research shows that more than just bootleg vape products are causing the issue. 14 different states have seen fatalities from vaping, and the types of products used vary. Last week the number of confirmed vaping injuries was over 800 (a nearly 50% increase in just a week). Victims range in age from 15 to 51, and both THC and nicotine devices have been used. Here are some stats: about three quarters of patients reported smoking THC products, 57% reported using a nicotine product, 17% used CBD, and less than 1% used a synthetic cannabinoid. Most importantly, users reported using many brands, both “illicit” brands and “over the counter” brands. Juul was the second most common brand. The summary is this: there’s not a lot of studies on this stuff, but we know right now that it’s killing and hospitalizing people. There is no single common factor, which is why they’re looking into it, and why they want to ban all products until they can figure it out.
May want to check your research, and the quality of the information. Patients “reporting” the products used doesn’t represent facts.
“About 77% reported using THC-containing products, with or without nicotine-containing products; 36% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products”
77% “reported”. Not tested, no toxicology reports.
You and the CDC are claiming that cases of Lipoid Pneumonia are being caused by products that are Lipophobic. Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin are the main ingredients in “vaping”, in the nicotine products so many are eager to blame.
This speculation based upon fudging “reports” from so many such as the CDC could also just as easily apply to water.
Facts don’t lie. 77% of the “reported” products are capable of causing these harms.
The other 13% are not. Yet that’s not stopping the media, nor the CDC from putting emphasis on that 13%, suggesting they’re to blame, wrongfully, and from a moral standpoint, sinfully.
Nanc T. says
And by the way most experienced vapers Do not vape Juul. Seriously, why on earth would anyone vape a product produced by Big tobacco? Wasn’t it them who got smokers hooked in the first place?
Does one really think they are honest?
I know I don’t.
In fact many of us make our own vape juice with food grade flavors and nicotine if wanted. Yep, just two ingredients.
Personally, I’ve never laid eyes on this Juul thing, which leads me to believe that yes the big tobacco folks want their smokers back and will literally kill to achieve this.
A report of all the toxic substances in the vaping products but no problem injecting some of those toxic substances into our bodies via vaccines. A few people have died or become ill voluntarily vaping these products and babies are injured and die from vaccines. No outcry from government officials or the CDC on that.
Patrick Campion says
God bless Charlene and Ty for telling and sharing the real truth about foods and products that are harmful to our health ! Knowledge through research and reports is powerful and needs to be spread throughout the world ,thanks be to GOD our help and hope🙏🙏🙏💙❤️🇨🇦🇺🇸🇬🇧 Etc. In God we must all always trust !Amen ! May God continue to bless your outreach so all people will know the truth about Cancer and prevention in order to lead a happy,healthy, cancer free life, GBU all and thank you again !
Customer Support says
Thank you so much, Patrick!
God bless you and your family as well! ❤️
Susan sams says
Your vaping article states it’s not what your smoking that’s to blame, something’s wrong with your vaping pen.” Then states, “Ask yourself what are you smoking?” My question is which is it?
Customer Service says
Hi Susan, the first sentence: “What you smoke is not the problem; something is wrong with your vape pen,” is referring to the fact that THC and nicotine are not specifically the problem. They have been used together and independently, so the issue must lie somewhere in the vaping process (people smoking tobacco and weed conventionally are not having these issues). The second quote: “what are you smoking,” is being asked to the manufacturers — it’s meant to be a play on words 🙂 We hope this helps!
Do some vaping devices heat up and
Cyanide fumes are the culprit?
Nanc T. says
Please show me documentation and proof on how my vaping setup is harmful.
There may be problems with whatever this Juul thing is. But, I’d bet the farm it’s the contents not the pen itself.
But, be fair majority of seasoned vapers do not use garbage you can by at a gas station.
As far as mechanics go it nothing more than a delivery system, a battery, coil and a tank period.
In fact there are many wonderful systems out there for CBD oil.
Responsibility remains with what you choose, buy garbage off the street and get what you pay for, which could kill you, same thing goes for any product.
Vape juice today has to jump through many regulatory hoops just to get to market and most is made in the USA. Personally I’d never vape anything made from China or manufactured by big tobacco.
It’s time to stop this nonsense. Responsible vaping has helped thousands of people quit smoking.
I have been vaping for over 10 years and haven’t felt better since quitting smoking So why now I personally think Big tobacco and Big pharma is behind this ” Follow the money and why the states are so quick on banning Vaping and how much money they have lost because of e-cigs
Robert, you are spot on. The states, Big pHARMa, and Big tobacco are losing money hand over fist as people are waking up and using healthier alternatives.
Healthy people do not generate money for these evil monopolies.
I’ve been vaping for over ten years now and feel fantastic. I do make my own juice so I know exactly what’s in it and can adjust my flavor preferences accordingly.
I take zero prescription meds and have had no need for a doc in over ten years and counting.
I think this is a shame, punishing the majority of responsible vapers for a few idiots who bought off the black market.
Unfortunately, because of these bans the death toll will only get higher. Due to unscrupulous black market vendors.
Personally, as a conspiracy theorist I honestly believe this was a set up by the cdc, Big tobacco and big pHARMa. Buts that’s just my opinion.
I would love for this Juul thing to be investigated by a third party as I don’t trust Big tobacco.
Silvia Logan says
I do not even smoke because I know that it is bad for your health. Smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, ephyzema, and all other kind of health problems.