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The Vaping Scare: What’s Up?


WHAT’S GOING ON:
Over the summer, reports of lung illnesses suspected to be linked to vaping have climbed to 500, and 7 people across the nation have died from the same symptoms. National efforts are coming together to determine what exactly is putting people in the hospital and how to stop it. Because the habit is so new there has been limited research so far, but with national attention on the matter experts are working their hardest. I’ve been following the story myself, and here’s what I understand so far. 

WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:

  • 7 people have died from vaping related illnesses so far (none in Colorado, though there have been reports of illness). 
  • While roughly 80% of cases being investigated are cannabis products, mostly black-market products have been implicated. There has been one dispensary product called into question in Oregon, but no further press has been released.  
  • The products in question have mostly been found to contain vitamin E acetate, or were black markets cartridges that contained thickening agents like vitamin E as well as other cutting agents and fake terpenes. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SHOPPING:
As far as we know, no Colorado-based products, THC or CBD, have been specifically implicated. All health related incidents in our state have been linked to e-cigarettes so far. Does that mean we’re safe in Colorado? Short answer, we don’t know yet. I can’t guarantee anything, and state health officials are still working to find answers. But, if you decide you still want to vape in the meantime, I can offer some consumer tips to help protect yourself a bit. 

  • This is a bit of a no-brainer, but I think amidst the frenzy it bears repeating: don’t buy illicit black-market vape cartridges. 
  • Look for list of ingredients, or a state-certified Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) sticker. 
  • Buy reputable brands. Look for companies that not only have a website, but social media profiles, industry reputation, and brand recognition. Companies should care about transparency, especially when consumers are concerned. 
    • Some of my favorite (legal CO) vaporizer brands include PAX, AiroPro, Evolab, and Focused Labs. 
  •  If you already know what type of product you want, or want to check out a new brand, try to Google companies before you head to the dispensary. 

And of course, try to remain up to date with the information being released. Officials are working hard to try to find answers, so stay educated and follow safe consumer shopping. Cheers! 

 ~written by Melinda Gardner

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