90% of the 17 cases of Ohio vape pen illness cases have been linked to illegal cartridges. Here’s what should happen next to stop the vape pen epidemic.
The scariest part about the vape pen epidemic is that the CDC still doesn’t know the cause. And it gets scarier as the death toll has now risen to 29 and injured 1,300. There are many theories going around the Internet and social media. Some range from Vitamin E Acetate to Chinese-made lead tainted pens. But one thing seems clearer and clearer as more data emerges: this seems to be primarily caused by illegal vape pens.
Ohio Vape Pen Data
While this notion may not sound exactly groundbreaking, it’s important to look at some of the numbers. Ohio has seen 17 cases of the vape pen illness (VAPI) and a whopping 90% of them have been linked to illegal vape cartridges. While most were linked to THC-based products, nicotine products were also used by those cases.
And what drives this home even more is that none of the cases have been linked to medical marijuana. All of Ohio’s medical marijuana products come from tested and licensed product. Which all but makes it clear that the cases are coming from illegal or black market pens.
At this point, it is clear that the government should step in to help legislate cannabis. While vaping is relatively new, this epidemic is clearly something different. And the issue this all points back to is the dichotomy between “legal” and “non-legal” states. The rift between states that have legalized cannabis and the federal government allows the black market to thrive. There’s a grey market that continues to pump out cheap, harmful products. And now these products are causing an uproar across 48 states.
What was once marketed as a safer alternative is now more harmful than ever. We won’t know for a while if vaping is safer than traditional cigarettes. The data just isn’t there yet. But we do know a few things. Cigarettes are very harmful. That’s obvious. Legal, tested vape pens may be harmful. More data and more testing will tell us for sure. But now we know that untested and unlicensed vape pens can cause acute harm as well.
And now a number of governors has launched e-cigarette and state vape pens bans.
What Would Help Solve This Crisis?
It’s simple: legalize cannabis. States like Colorado and California have shown that it can be a huge tax windfall. There were no vape pen lawsuits. And oddly enough, marijuana use among teens has actually gone down in states that have legalized.
But those facts aside, legalizing cannabis will help streamline the industry and keep harmful black market products off the streets. Think of it like alcohol: you rarely hear about someone dying from homemade hooch. That’s where the industry needs to go, but it can’t get there unless the government takes action. Until then follow our step-by-step guides to purchasing the safest vape pens or quitting vaping altogether.