Amid FDA Warning Against Illicit THC Vape Usage, Hawaii Governor & Hawaii Department of Health Push Blanket Vape Warning
News Release from Volcano E-Cigs, October 7, 2019
This past Friday, October 4, 2019, the Food & Drug Administration, the governmental agency responsible for the regulation of e-cigarettes and the agency currently investigating reports of lung illnesses nationwide, warned consumers specifically to stop using THC-containing vape products1. However, here in Hawaii, our Governor and our Department of Health took a much more confusing approach and issued a blanket warning to all consumers to stop vaping “all products regardless of their substance or source” and stated, “Vaping is not safe, and everyone is advised to stop using vaping products” – Bruce Anderson - DOH.
However, these statements are not true and flies in the face of mountain of evidence to the contrary. Vaping has been proven to be at least 95% safer then traditional tobacco cigarettes and are nearly twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapy products 2 3 4 5 6 7. In fact, NYU Professor Abrams recently gave a detailed talk with CBS news detailing these facts and the need for better clarification on the part of governing bodies on how to address the concerns around the recent outbreak of vaping illnesses 8.
“Stating that our industry is not regulated is patently false. The FDA has regulated the e-cigarette industry since August 8, 2016 when they released their deeming regulations bringing e-cigarettes under their regulatory authority 9. No new products have been allowed on the market since then and all the products that we carry are sourced directly from FDA registered manufacturers whom have submitted ingredient listings for all of their products to the FDA” states Cory Smith, Owner – VOLCANO eCigs.
The information from the FDA & CDC has shown that 78% of the individuals who are reported as having a lung illness, have admitted to using THC containing vape products and the FDA released a statement specifically warning consumers from using these types of products, specifically THC Cart purchased off the street from illicit manufacturers. Minimizing this fact and issuing a blanket warning is very dangerous and harmful to the tens of thousands of adult consumers who use legal, FDA registered products every day as an alternative to traditional combustible tobacco cigarettes, a known killer of more than 480,000 people a year.
“Recently the FDA and many state health agencies have come to the conclusion that there is a direct link between black market THC products and the recent outbreak of lung illnesses. There has been no evidence linking electronic cigarettes, nicotine products, that are regulated by the FDA under the Deeming regulations of 2016 to these illnesses.”- Mark Anton, Executive Director, Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA)
“With the evidence we have today, it is irresponsible to not issue a clear and upfront warning about using illicit THC products. This is a clear public safety issue. In the states that have many reported cases – Utah, California, New York, Michigan, and others – the link with amateur-made marijuana oil cartridges becomes clearer every day.” – Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association
What is important for everyone to know:
· The FDA has narrowed the scope of their investigation to black-market THC cartridges as being the main source of lung illness.
· Identified products in this investigation are unregulated black-market THC oil cartridges. Using this crisis to call for prohibition on legitimate harm-reduction products is opportunistic and will ultimately harm public health.
· Millions of Americans have been vaping responsibly manufactured and commercially sold nicotine vape products daily since 2008, and we haven’t seen any illnesses like this. But now, black-market THC cartridges have been found to be using tocopherol acetate (Vitamin E oil), which is an oil that should not be inhaled.
· The ingredients in nicotine vapor products are not the same as the ingredients in THC vapor products.
· US vapor product manufacturers have registered every one of their products with the FDA and have listed all ingredients and recipes with FDA as well.
· Since THC products are not legal at the federal level, THC-containing products and their ingredients are not registered with the FDA. The states that have legalized cannabis must therefore find ways to regulate cannabis products and issue appropriate warnings against the products that are at the root cause of this outbreak.
“The vape market has been serving millions of adult smokers with a smoking alternative for 10 years without any mass illness outbreak reports. In addition, other global store-bought nicotine vape markets such as Europe & Asia which contain additional millions of adult vapers have no reported cases of this outbreak. Identifying the true cause of these illnesses and reporting them accurately so that the public can make informed decisions should take precedence over fear mongering.”
Cory Smith – Owner / VOLCANO eCigs
VOLCANO eCigs is the largest wholesaler, distributor and retailer of e-cigarettes in the state of Hawaii. They have been in business since 2009 and have 15 locations statewide.
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Hawai‘i Department of Health issues public health advisory urging everyone to stop vaping
News Release from Hawaii DoH, October 7, 2019
HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has issued a health advisory urging everyone to stop vaping, no matter the substance or source, until current nationwide investigations are complete. The advisory follows the state’s first reported case of lung illness related to the use of vaping products and national estimates of more than a thousand reported cases of lung illness and 18 deaths associated with vaping and e-cigarettes.
“There is serious nationwide concern over vaping, and in Hawai‘i, our children are especially at risk as we have some of the highest estimated rates of e-cigarette use among our high school and middle school youth,” said Gov. Ige. “The state is placing a high priority on investigating lung illnesses related to vaping and our Department of Health will immediately ban any products that are identified as the source of a vaping related outbreak. We will also introduce legislation to regulate these products and further restrict their access to our youth.”
An estimated 26 percent of high school youth and 16 percent of middle school youth in Hawai‘i currently smoke e-cigarettes. This means Hawai‘i has one of the highest rates of vaping among high school and middle school youth in the nation. The estimated national average for high school youth is 13 percent.
“Vaping is not safe, and everyone is advised to stop using vaping products until more is known about their association with serious lung disease,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “Parents are advised to talk with their children about the dangers of vaping, and physicians are reminded to ask their patients with symptoms of lung illness or injury about their use of e-cigarettes or their history of vaping and report cases to the Department of Health for investigation.”
Until the cause of these vaping associated illnesses is determined, the Hawai‘i Department of Health recommends the following:
• Do not use e-cigarettes or vaping devices of any kind. If you don’t use vaping devices, don’t start. If you are using a vaping device, stop.
E-cigarettes and vaping products are unsafe and unregulated. While there are claims that vaping devices help smokers kick their cigarette habits, not enough time has elapsed, nor has testing been done, to verify this claim or the potential for other health impacts. If you are an adult using vaping devices with medical cannabis products, consider changing to another form of medical cannabis.
• If you choose to continue using vaping devices, do not use off-market products. Caution is especially advised regarding the use of off-market THC containing liquids. “Off- market” products are those available through the internet, purchased from persons on the street, and those which are homemade. Homemade products often involve modifying or adding substances to products purchased at retail stores.
While evidence points to a higher incidence of negative health impacts among users of off-market THC products, some patients suffering negative health impacts report using only nicotine products or products obtained on the market.
• Pregnant women should not use e-cigarettes and vaping products of any kind at any time during pregnancy.
• Children and youth should never use e-cigarettes and vaping devices. The act of selling to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal in Hawai‘i. It is also illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, use, and possess these products. Vaping devices were never intended to be used by children or youth and should not be used by them.
• If you have recently used a vaping device and are experiencing symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain, see a healthcare provider.
You may also call the Hawai‘i Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 at any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• If you are an adult using vaping devices to kick a cigarette habit, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or call the Hawai‘i Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT- NOW (1-800-7848-669). This is a free and confidential call.
The Department of Health will continue to investigate all reported cases of illness associated with e-cigarettes and vaping products and will update these recommendations as more information becomes available.
CATO: The Rediscovery of Tobacco: Smoking, Vaping, and the Creative Destruction of the Cigarette