Vaping has been in the headlines as of late due to concerns regarding the safety of vaping products. However, given the widespread coverage of this issue as well as the uninformed nature of many who are spreading and or vaping-related information, many misconceptions have begun to arise. Throughout this post I’ll be explaining the illness that many are associating with vape usage as well as letting you know how you may avoid experiencing such complications.
VAPI in a Nutshell
Vaping-associated pulmonary injury, or VAPI, is the official term for the respiratory illness that has stricken hundreds of individuals across the United States, leading many to question the safety of vaping as well as a variety of vaping-related products. Symptoms of VAPI include chest pain, dry cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and hemoptysis (more commonly known as coughing up blood). While these symptoms are outright unpleasant to deal with, they raise another concern, that being diagnosis. Vaping-associated pulmonary illness shares a majority of its symptoms with more common conditions such as pneumonia. As one could imagine, this fact makes treating VAPI considerably more difficult for medical professionals as the tricky diagnosis process may result in the loss of valuable time, thereby increasing the chance of worsening condition or worse for patients.
What’s Causing Vaping-Related Illness?
While the assimilation of information regarding vaping-related illnesses is still ongoing, a fair amount of progress has been made as pertains to getting to the bottom of what’s causing these issues. With the help of patients who have been hospitalized for VAPI, all signs seem to point to THC-containing vaping products, in particular, black market THC vaping cartridges. From what has been gathered, inhaled oils appear to be a major cause of VAPI, these oils are likely getting into the lungs of individuals due to the shoddy composition of vaping products they have used. While it seems that most of the more commonly accessible products are safe for consumption, some black market cartridge manufacturers use “thickeners” in order to maximize their profit margins due to the high demand for THC vaping products. Unfortunately, most of these thickeners consist primarily of tocopherols, varying form of vitamin E that are harmful to one’s respiratory system. While the exact form may vary between the likes of tocopheryl-acetate, alpha- tocopheryl and others, no form of vitamin E is safe for vaping.
How VAPI Affects the Body
While medical professionals have long since known that oils in the lungs are hazardous, little research has been concluded regarding the precise effects of vitamin E oils in the lungs. That being said, it has been speculated that tocopherols may have uniquely detrimental effects on the human respiratory system. Vitamin E oils stick to the liner fluid of human lungs, interfering with the gas transfer process. By covering the naturally-occuring layer of pulmonary surfactants, a wide variety of potentially serious symptoms may arise. For starters, the lung’s transfer of gasses and other substances can be severely limited, potentially causing the death of lung cells altogether. In short, these oils coat the lungs, keeping them from functioning properly.
Is Vaping Safe?
While the answer to this question isn’t simply black and white, it can easily be argued that most cartridge-based THC vaping products are safe for consumption. As most of the observed problems are linked to shoddily manufactured black market vaping products, the chance of negative outcomes is likely dependent on the sourcing of the products in question. Nicotine vaping cartridges from your local store of choice as well as THC-based vaping cartridges from your local dispensary are probably safe for consumption whereas cheaper alternatives that one may find on the internet or from unauthorized dealers are more likely to be problematic. That being said, the rise of VAPI has brought some manufacturing issues to light. Some traditionally purchasable vaping products, both THC and nicotine based, have since been identified as having tocopherols in them. Whether that be in much lower concentrations, thereby posing a significantly lower health risk or as part of different compositions that yield less negative effects, that fact still remains. Given this information, though, more mainstream vaping products have not been linked to VAPI or other vaping induced illnesses as clearly as their black market counterparts. While those who vape regularly always invite the potential for injury or illness, most that were previously observed had more to do with niche cases or ones in which individuals were vaping at temperatures that made consumption more risky. As such, it can probably be said that vaping as a whole is not as dangerous as many have been lead to believe due to the hysteric early and even ongoing coverage of this topic may have suggested. In short, as long as you’re purchasing products from certifiable, legitimate sources, whether they be bulk wholesale or retail, the risk for injury and or illness should be largely minimal.
The attention that vaping has garnered in light of recent happenings can easily be considered misleading. Many of the outlets and entities pushing for bans on vaping and its related products are likely misinformed. The fact of the matter is that this subject requires a much deeper inquiry than what most are willing to offer, one that delves into the manufacturing of these products as well as the science behind VAPI and other vaping-related illnesses. Also given the fact that the tobacco industry has a large stake in media, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there may be a tad bit of manipulation going on behind the scenes regarding how this topic has been covered since it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the vaping industry poses a considerable threat to the businesses that have long since thrived off of more “traditional” nicotine consumption methods. Vaping has been popular for long enough that the sudden, problematic rise of VAPI in particular consumption communities are already beginning to be tied back to a particular source, that being cheap, black market alternatives to established vaping products. If such a condition was an inherent risk of vaping, I believe that this fact would have long since come to light. I hope this article has succeeded in making your more well-versed in relation to this ongoing vaping fiasco.