Five years ago Inhale Health® began to apply vapor product technology for the purpose of health and wellness. We wanted to prove to the world that this new “vapor” delivery system could and should be used for so much more than just nicotine. Over the years, our brand has successfully applied vapor product technology to exclusively deliver Vitamin B12, Melatonin, and Caffeine making strides to redefine popular conceptions about inhalation itself, and in many cases redirect consumers away from nicotine consumption entirely. During this period we have lived and quite literally breathed the study of inhalation toxicology on a daily basis. Watching the media in recent weeks, the United States has undeniably reached a pivotal stage regarding the popular consensus of vapor products.
To flavor ban or not to flavor ban, that is the question. It’s easy to go back to the way things were. But it’s important to remember, things may not have been so good in the first place. Both regulators and the media are in a frenzy at the moment.
Although flavor bans for electronic nicotine products may be effective in suppressing youth addiction, we have to be careful not to take a big step backwards in the public health of our nation. The mass elimination of electronic nicotine will force many adults back to old habits of cigarette smoking. The first vapor related death was reported August 23rd, 2019. Now one month later a total of 33 fatalities have been reported. It’s important not to forget that according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control, during this same time period from August 23rd to October 22nd, there were 39,000 domestic lives lost due to legally manufactured traditional tobacco products.
On a global scale the daily fatality rate from cigarette smoking is massively higher. Unfortunately these thousands of daily preventable deaths are not something we see in news headlines. The media’s current state of fear concerning vapor products has now put us all at risk of suppressing the first technological and behavioral breakthrough that has ever had a meaningful impact in the fight against preventable cigarette related fatalities. This is an irony the world cannot afford.
Before we make the mistake of fearing vapor products in general, and before we make the mistake of suppressing this entire delivery system as a whole, it’s important to highlight a few key truths. Critically, the unifying factor amongst the reported vapor deaths has not been nicotine electronic cigarettes. The unifying factor has been the use of illegally manufactured THC vapor products containing a highly dangerous cutting agent known as Vitamin E Acetate. It was included in these black market products as an inexpensive way to dilute the THC.
This process of “cutting” is a common occurrence amongst all street drugs. Vitamin E Acetate is an oil. It coats and clogs the inner workings of the lungs with long chain triglycerides progressively inhibiting the lungs from functioning. Electronic cigarettes do not contain oils, they use water soluble diluents. Chemically and biologically this is entirely different. There are no oils in electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes have been in mass circulation in the United States for over a decade. An educated American public needs to ask itself, why after a decade of mainstream circulation would electronic cigarettes suddenly now be the abrupt cause in an uprise of “mysterious lung illness”? The answer is simple. They wouldn’t. Electronic cigarettes are not the cause. This sudden uprise in mysterious lung illness has been caused by a recent evolution in the ingredients used among the black market cannabis industry that has made its way into market circulation in recent months.
Inhale Health® does not fundamentally support nicotine products. That said, we do support technologies that allow adult consumers to transition away from greater harm to lesser harm. If we are at a point in our nation’s regulatory history where we are questioning the legality, safety and ethics of certain inhaled products, we urge the public to speak up and ensure that the legality of traditional cigarettes are questioned as well. Let’s not forget that there is no “mysterious lung illness” regarding the deadly implications of traditional smoking. There is no mystery at all. While society seems preoccupied with this debate over new technology, it’s a good time to question the fundamental ethics in continuing the sale and availability of the traditional cigarettes we irrefutably know to be fatal. Even the American Cancer Society agrees, let’s not guarantee an increase in fatalities in the misconstrued name of preventing them.