Several individuals across the nation have been confirmed as either dead or injured as a result of vaping related illness.
By Solomon Smith, Managing Editor
Eight deaths and over 530 lung related illnesses among e-cigarettes users reported by the Center for Disease Control have prompted a continuing investigation amid fears of more victims.
The CDC, although reporting on the deaths and injuries, has limited specific information on the source of the illness.
“We do not yet know the specific cause of these lung injuries. The investigation has not identified any specific e-cigarette, vaping product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) or substance that is linked to all cases.”
In response to the rise in reported injuries, the CDC has activated its Emergency Operations Center. The Food and Drug Administration is also investigating in an effort to determine the cause of the deaths.
The majority of illnesses have presented as similar to pneumonia leading to hospitalization. Most victims were using vapes inhaling nicotine, THC laden products, or a combination of the two. Daniel Fox, a doctor at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. spoke to NPR about his experience with some of those affected by the mysterious illness. He identified the lung condition as lipoid pneumonia, which is caused by the inhalation of fats or oils into the lungs. This is rarely seen in the young and the long-term effects are unclear.
"There is probably at least some irreversible damage that is done every time you have a significant inflammatory reaction within the lung tissue,” said Fox.
Walmart announced that it will no longer be selling the product at its stores and partner store Sam’s Club.
“First, as of July 1, 2019, across our entire U.S. business – Walmart and Sam’s Club – we are raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including all e-cigarettes, to 21,” announced the site. “Secondly, we are in the process of discontinuing the sale of fruit and dessert-flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems.”
It should be noted that Walmart will continue to sell other tobacco and nicotine related products like cigarettes, chewing tobacco and nicotine gum and some vape products are still available online. Viacom, CBS and Warner Media have stated that they will no longer air ads for vaping and its related products. With a retailers and advertisers shutting out E-Cigarettes, there is fear the products will have a hard time surviving until the issue is resolved.
Earlier this month President Donald J. Trump was on camera disparaging e-cigarettes.
“Don’t’ Vape we don’t like vaping, I don’t like vaping,” said Trump.
Shortly after he reversed himself on Twitter.
“While I like the Vaping alternative to Cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is SAFE for ALL! Let’s get counterfeits off the market and keep young children from Vaping,” tweeted Trump.
In an interview on Cuomo, the president of the American Vaping Association, Gregory Conley, defended his organizations products, blaming counterfeit and “contaminated” THC products and touting them as an alternative to smoking.
“I come at this as a consumer advocate for the product, someone who quit smoking using the product,” said Conley.