Amid FDA Warning Against Illicit THC Vape Usage, Hawaii Governor & Hawaii Department of Health Push Blanket Vape Warning
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.” Bruce Anderson of the DOH further stated, “Vaping is not safe, and everyone is advised to stop using vaping products.”
However, these statements are misleading and fly in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary. Studies referenced project vaping estimated to be at least 95% safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes and is nearly twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapy products 2 3 4 5 6 7. In fact, NYU Professor David 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 who have submitted ingredient listings for all of their products to the FDA.” -- Cory Smith, Owner, VOLCANO eCigs.
The information from the FDA & CDC has shown that 78% of the individuals who are reported as having lung illness have admitted to using THC-containing vape products. The FDA released a statement specifically warning consumers from using these types of products, specifically THC cartridges 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 a 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.