Around this time last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was ramping up an anti-vaping campaign that still threatens the vapor industry’s very existence. In September 2019, two brothers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were arrested for allegedly manufacturing, marketing, and distributing contraband cartridges filled with illegally obtained THC oils and a dilatative called Vitamin E acetate. Jacob and Tyler Huffhines are still in jail awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, the CDC was peddling a now-debunked conspiracy theory that nicotine-based e-liquids used in vaping were to blame for a mysterious lung disorder first appearing in Wisconsin before spreading throughout the nation. By February 2020, over 2,800 cases were reported in 29 states with a confirmed 68 fatalities.
Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
After several years of the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scaring the American People by wrongly claiming that vaping had become a national “epidemic,” now they had a true and undeniable pandemic on their hands. COVID-19 was forcing the economy to shut down and millions of people to lose their jobs.
All of a sudden, the federal government’s outlandish falsehoods about a so-called vaping epidemic seemed rather silly in comparison. In a February 25 press release, the CDC was forced to acknowledge that nicotine based vapes have nothing whatsoever to do with EVALI. Vitamin E acetate found in Black Market products was the true cause.
“Due to continued declines in new EVALI cases since September 2019, and the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, today’s release is the final biweekly CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally. CDC will continue to provide assistance to states, as needed, related to EVALI and will provide future updates as needed at: www.cdc.gov/lunginjury.”
However, the CDC failed to admit to their original sin – specifically, that the CDC has falsely and inaccurately blamed nicotine-based vapes for the respiratory disorder. Instead, they just left the lie hanging out there, and a substantial percentage of the American People still wrongly believe that vaping is more dangerous than smoking. Vape sales plummeted while Big Tobacco revenues soared.
Forbes on vaping and the CDC
Furthermore, state after state began implementing vape bans. Smart governors issued their emergency executive orders only temporarily – for about 90 days or so. Once the danger had passed, the bans were lifted. Others were forced into submission by state courts, and some rather persistent lawmakers like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer are still trying to install vape bans even after losing their court battles. Many have succeeded, like California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York’s Andrew Cuomo.
In a recent editorial in Forbes Magazine, journalist and cannabis legislation expert Chris Roberts discusses a recent study which indicates that the CDC’s “bungled” response to EVALI resulted in multiple statewide vaping bans that are utter “nonsense.” Roberts puts it this way.
“The vape-lung injury crisis…gave ammunition for anti-cannabis legalization advocates, who freely and openly claimed that legal marijuana dispensaries were selling dangerous product. Those claims were without merit—i.e., they were nonsense, they were lies—as areas with higher rates of vape use prior to the crisis’s beginning had lower rates of EVALI.”
The study that caught Roberts’ attention was conducted by a Yale public health scientist named Abigail Friedman and published in the medical journal Addiction. Friedman points out that the clusters of EVALI outbreaks nationwide were at their lowest in areas where legal cannabis dispensaries are located. The statistics show similar results regarding nicotine-based vapes, as well.
“In the US, states with higher rates of e‐cigarette and cannabis use prior to the 2019 ‘e‐cigarette or vaping product use‐associated lung injury’ (EVALI) outbreak had lower EVALI prevalence. These results suggest that EVALI cases did not arise from e‐cigarette or cannabis use per se, but rather from locally distributed e‐liquids or additives most prevalent in the affected areas.”
Therefore, Ms. Friedman and Mr. Roberts suggest, the CDC knew all along that the problem was not nicotine-based vapes, legalized marijuana, or even legally obtained THC-oils. The CDC knew all along that the real threat to human life was Black Market cartridges laced with vitamin E acetate. Yet the continued to peddle this “nonsense for over six months.
Why did the CDC and the FDA repeatedly lie to the American People? And for what end?
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