In recent years, the popularity of e-cigarettes or vaporizers has exploded. Marketed as an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, vaporizers have succeeded in converting millions of smokers worldwide. According to the BBC, the number of smokers has barely increased since 2000. However, the same cannot be said about vaporizer users, which have grown exponentially. Thus, this brings up the curious timing of the current “vaping crisis.”
As you may know, over the last several days, federal health agencies reported a spike in presumably vaporizer-related lung illnesses. At time of writing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 450 possible cases, including five deaths. The epidemic of acute lung illnesses or injuries have impacted 33 states.
However, it’s absolutely crucial to point out that neither the CDC nor the Food and Drug Administration have fingered a decisive culprit. Currently, they are speculating that vaporizers – and specifically, vaping substances like nicotine and THC-laden cannabis – are responsible. But that is simply not the case: the investigation is very much in its infancy.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the mainstream media from jumping on the vaping crisis angle. Score after score of medical professionals have blasted the vaporizer industry, recommending ceasing the practice immediately. Even celebrity-physician Dr. Oz weighed in, echoing the CDC’s recommendation to stop vaping.
But what’s really going on with this vaping crisis?
Vaping Crisis Is a Scapegoat
A deeper look into the vaping crisis reveals a comedy of contradictions and misdirection. Essentially, the medical community doesn’t know what’s going on. But they do have a culprit in mind: vaporizers. All the better, they recognize that vaporizer companies are much smaller than Big Tobacco firms.
In other words, vaporizers are an easy target, sure to find political consensus.
But in a different way to approach the matter, the vaporizer platform is a scapegoat. Not only do federal agencies not have a catalyst, they don’t even agree with each other on recommended actions. On one hand, the CDC says stop vaping until the investigation is finished. But on the other hand, the FDA makes no such pronouncement, instead recommending not vaping THC-based products.
Even worse, the federal authorities actually have a likely causal factor: risky, underage (read illegal) behaviors. According to the vast majority of patient cases, the affected reported using nicotine and THC-based products. Further, an illegally used carrier oil called Vitamin E acetate may be responsible for the acute lung illnesses.
Therefore, we don’t have a vaping crisis; instead, underage vaping, combined with illicit materials or illegal modifications are to blame. But since we live in a world where personal accountability doesn’t exist, we’ve got to have something (or someone) to assign culpability.