What We Know About the Deaths Behind America’s Recent Vaping Outbreak


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The world is becoming ever more aware of the consequences of vaping. Every day, it seems like we wake up to a new trending story about a number of people being hospitalized with severe lung problems from vaping. If you are familiar with black market trends, this comes as no surprise. At this time, it’s speculated that the issue in question is not just the chemicals being used inside the cartridge, but also the actual cartridge itself that is producing toxins that are harming people.  

The Issue with Black Market Vape Pens

Vaping is one of the easiest and most discreet methods to consume cannabis. Since it is so popular, many black-market producers will resort to using a variety of different chemicals, harmful or otherwise, to cut the product in an effort to stretch and maximize profits. To make matters worse, the packaging is usually bought wholesale from foreign countries that don’t offer any sort of regulation whatsoever. These cartridges are often made with plastics and harmful metals that can leach into the oil when the mechanism burns. Popular products such as Dank Vapes, and Mario Carts, are so common that knocking off these brands’ packaging and filling them with low-grade and toxic ingredients is not something completely unheard of. In fact, these brands have become notoriously synonymous with contamination. The only way to know for sure is to have products individually lab tested. However, the average citizen does not have the means to do this every time they make a purchase. They heavily rely on the honesty of who they are buying from and often these entities aren’t concerned with the customer’s health or well-being. In general, one should always approach with extreme prejudice when making black-market purchases. But what about vapes products that have been made and purchased legally? 

This Also Affects the Legal Market

People have been using vape products for years without suffering from health problems in such large groups at the same time. Well, what’s new that is causing the recent major health crisis? Cartridge makers have commonly used MCT oils and vegetable glycerin emulsifiers in their production. But the FDA has recently determined that these food-grade ingredients are toxic when inhaled into our lungs. Now, new kinds of odorless and tasteless thickening agents have been identified in test results. There is no information or studies for what these ingredients are capable of when burned at such high temperatures and what effects they have on our bodies. Tocopheryl Acetate, or vitamin e acetate, is a common and easily obtainable chemical that is found in skincare products. Recently, it’s been found in many standard vape products. Vitamin E Acetate is currently implicated in BOTH the legal and black-market industries for being linked to many of the rising health issues. There is even a patent on cannabis oil production that includes using vitamin e. However, this is just the beginning. Vitamin E Acetate is the first of, what will most likely be, a multitude of contributing factors. 

Right Now, It’s Up to Us

The moral of this story is that it is imperative that this country provides concrete regulation for cannabis products. People’s lives are now in jeopardy because of the lack of solid information and requirements for quality control. It would seem like this should be a given since the cannabis industry is so new and uncharted. People are becoming essential lab rats as we try to figure out viable formulas on our own. Did we not learn anything from the bootleggers and bathtub gin makers from the Prohibition Era? Cannabis should keep you out of the hospital, not put you in it. It has the potential to help so many people, it shouldn’t be equated with compromising people’s health and livelihood. 

If you decide to continue to purchase and use cannabis vape products, become informed on how to spot a bootleg cart through the appearance of the oil, and how it immediately affects you. If you are constantly wheezing, coughing, short of breath, or experience any chest pain, immediately discontinue using. Also, make sure that the brand you use is completely transparent with where they source their cartridge hardware and is willing to provide valid lab results that indicate all of the ingredients used. Until more research is conducted and information is available, it’s up to us to do our own investigating. Becoming a medical marijuana patient will only serve your best interests as it is the most regulated of the entire cannabis market. If this vape lung disease epidemic has told us anything, our health depends on our own due diligence until regulations are implemented. 


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Lauren Dragoo

Lauren is a millennial mom just trying to live life to the fullest. She's interested in all things travel, design, food, and promoting responsible cannabis consumption.

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