Sloppy Reporting & Fear Mongering In Latest Vape News
This is not the Blog Post we wanted to start with but recent trash reporting is making this post necessary so here we go...
If you have been following the recent news reports about the mysterious “Vaping Sickness”, you have – like us here at Equilibrium – had a front row seat for some pretty sensationalist and shoddy journalism.
Equilibrium is committed to health and safety and we have been following this story on the
outside chance it develops into something. Our number one concern is keeping everyone safe
and providing the vaping community with reliable and actionable information. What we have
uncovered is sloppy reporting and fear mongering.
The basic story, in case you are not aware, is that an Illinois patient has died of vaping related injuries and
that they are part of the wave of “Vaping Sickness” which has affected 193 people in 22 US
states since June according to an August 22 article in the New York Times (First Death in a
Spate of Vaping Sickness Reported by Health Officials). The headline sounds shocking and quiet alarming, however when you dig down and look at what has been released as information, you start to see through the media fog and begin to wonder at what might really be going on. (By the way, every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot and injured but sure let's talk about vaping.)
First of all, the main fact to know, is that no one seems to know what is going on. We have a
few clusters totaling almost 200 patients in the USA and according to media reports many of
the victims are underage. The only identified link between all of them is that they “have at one
time vaped”. I bet we can also create the link that they have at one time all stubbed their toes too.
This raises a number of questions: What liquid were they vaping and what device? Where did they acquire the materials? Are these underage kids responsible enough to care for and maintain their equipment to keep them in a state of cleanliness and proper function? This is hard to answer since kids have to access vaping supplies through a black market sources. Because we cannot verify where they obtained their “vapes” and have no information on their habits, maturity, or what their friends have been up to, we have no way of knowing what they vaped or how.
It is also important to note that the media and officials have been using “vape” to mean
everything from Glycerin based eCigarettes to various dry herb vaporizers. Reports indicate that
there was no one liquid involved and victims are reporting having vaped standard commercial
liquids, DIY liquids (with nicotine, THC, and “other drugs”), etc. Think of how easy it is to mess up a DIY liquid especially when you are doing it in secret so your parents don't catch you?
In terms of language being tossed about there also seems to be confusion as to whether we are dealing with a “sickness” a “disease” or a series of “lung injuries”. A sickness – ie: something caused by a contaminated batch of juice, improperly cared for gear, a dangerous ingredient – has to be handled differently than a source of injury. Lung injuries from vaping could occur, once again, from poorly maintained equipment, contaminated juice, bad hygiene, etc. With no clear understanding of the source of the problem we are left with reporting that amounts to finger pointing at the industry. An industry that has been at the lead of harm reduction when it comes to smoking cessation and improving health for millions.
So what we have here is much ado about nothing. Or at least much ado about something
we seem to know next to nothing about but which someone in the media has decided to make
We're keeping a close eye on this story for two reasons. First, because we use
our products daily and support vaping as a healthy lifestyle choice for adults and we want to keep
ourselves, our friends, and family safe. Secondly, because we at Equilibrium have always
liked proving naysayers wrong. As a new industry offering a superior alternative to a product
that is protected by one of the strongest criminal cartels (lobby is the PC term which we choose to ignore) in the world you know they will push back against us as hard as they can. We strongly believe that all this moaning about a so called "vaping sickness" is most likely indicative of a fatality waiting to
happen. It's s the sound of tobacco slowly choking on it's last breath as it tries to keep selling stinky cancer sticks to a public that has been trained to read headlines vs. question content.
Here are a few no-nonsense tips to maximize your safety and your enjoyment as you vape:
1. Keep it clean: If you enjoy vaping odds are you have your device with you everywhere
you go. This means throughout the day your vape will come in contact with all sorts of
pathogens and dirt. Number one rule to vaping safe: keep it clean.
2. Good working order: Any well maintained device can be expected to perform within a
reasonable margin of safety. With vaporizers, a poorly maintained device can't even be
expected not to blow up in your hands and burn your house down (seriously!). Other than
cleanliness, one of the major danger zones to avoid in vaping is bad or broken gear.
Bad gear can overheat, can contaminate your juice with particles of metal from burned out
coils, etc. Let's be clear: Vaping is a safe alternative to smoking and an effective means of
smoking cessation but if YOU fail in doing YOUR PART to keep YOUR GEAR in PROPER WORKING ORDER AND CLEAN then YOU are part of the problem.
3. Buy from the source: Would you take a glass of liquid from a stranger on the street and drink
it? Do your eyes have a special extra sensory capacity to do analytical chemistry? Then
unless you can trust your source how can you claim to have the slightest idea what you
put in your vape? You eventually have to trust someone – you can't check everything
yourself - but who do you trust? That's a life skill you learn with experience and it's
probably why so many of these victims are UNDERAGED. Vaping really isn't intended
for minors or those who take candy from strangers.
Support your local vape shop
Rat out minors to their parents (it takes a village)
Learn to evaluate reporting and
Grow up so we can all keep enjoying our vapes responsibly and for the many many years our healthier lifestyles now let us look forward to.