No doubt you'll have heard about the reports from the US about a mysterious vaping illness. It appears to have appeared out of nowhere and there are currently 450 reported cases and six connected deaths.
UK tabloids including The Sun (and other usual suspects) have adopted their usual knee-jerk reaction approach to journalism and urged their British readers to 'StOp VaPiNG nOw!!!!!'. This is despite tobacco still being the "leading cause of preventable death" in the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
When our health is involved it is important to adopt a better safe than sorry approach.
So let's take a look at the causes of the Mystery American Vaping Illness and see if there is any cause for concern here in the UK.
What are the symptoms of the US Mystery Vaping Illness?
The symptoms reported by those suffering from the illness are similar to pneumonia and include coughing, fever and in worse case scenarios, respiratory failure. This is where your lungs stop working and breathing becomes difficult.
What has caused the US Mystery Vaping Illness?
The US currently has taken a laissez-faire approach to the regulation of vaporizers and cigarets. Laws and regulations guaranteeing the quality of manufacturing were due to come into effect in 2017 but this was delayed by the Trump administration. The new regulations are now set to come into effect in 2022.
The decision of several US states to legalise cannabis has caused the popularity of cannabis vaping products to explode.
This popularity has led to amateur outfits making and selling their own products. Unfortunately, because there is little regulation, there is no way to guarantee what is in the vaping liquid.
The FDA reports that the majority of these cases involve people who have bought vaping fluid "off the street". Whilst, the American Vaping Association has blamed the illnesses on illegal vape pens containing THC. Many of these black-market products don't just contain THC they also include toxic oils, synthetic cannabinoids and even spice.
Are UK vaping products safe?
UK authorities have been quick to point out that there has been no case of vaping related illnesses in the UK. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency have stated this is due to the US and UK having very different regulations standards.:
“Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and they operate the yellow card scheme, encouraging vapers to report any bad experiences,”.
Martin Dockrell, head of Tobacco Control at Public Health England released the following statement:
All the evidence to date suggests that illicit marijuana vaping products (THC oils) are the cause.
The official advice from the MHRA is to:
Only use UK regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping homemade or illicit e-liquids or adding substances, any of which could be harmful.
Are UK Dry Herb Vaporizers safe?
If you're buying your herb vaporizer from a reputable shop, then yes, you can be confident that your dry herb vaporizer is safe. dank! Vapes takes the following precautions:
- Every single vaporizer on dank! Vapes meets EU quality standards.
- dank! Vapes sells no vaporizers with plastic heating elements. When plastic is exposed to high temperatures dangerous toxins and chemicals are released which is then inhaled by the user. We only sell vaporizes with either ceramic or stainless steel ovens.
- dank! Vapes only provide vaporizers with an air-path isolated from the electronics and insulation. This protects you from inhaling dangerous materials such as fibre-glass.
Are UK CBD E Liquids safe?
Again, if your buying your CBD Vape Juice from reputable stores then yes, you can be confident that your CBD E Liquid is safe.
- Every batch of our Elevate CBD E Liquid has been independently tested by a third-party laboratory.
- Every batch of our Elevate CBE E Liquid was manufactured right here in the UK.
4 Steps you can take to ensure you're vaping safely
- Do not buy any black-market THC Vaping Oils - We get dozens of phone calls every week asking if this can be purchased 'under the counter' but we do not sell it and are not involved with any companies that do! Unfortunately, as with most black market products, you can not guarantee what is in the product you are buying.
- Ensure any legal E Liquid you buy has been lab-tested - Feel free to ask any store for a lab test. If they are reputable they should be able to send you their lab reports. This is true for both Nicotine and CBD E Liquids.
- Complete a burn-off - During manufacturing your vaporizer is exposed to oils from the machinery. It is unlikely but not impossible that your brand new vaporizer will have traces of chemical residue in the oven. This is true whether you've spent £30 or £300 on your new herb vaporizer. To guarantee you're vaping safely, you should complete a burn-off. To do this, just set the oven to full and complete a few vaping cycles with nothing in the oven. Any residue should evaporate.
- Ensure you buy hardware from reputable retailers - Beware of fakes! There are several reasonably-known UK websites selling counterfeit products. You may save a few quid purchasing from a cheap retailer and the product may look exactly the same but it probably doesn't have the same safety standards. We're official retailers of every product we sell but admittedly we're not the only ones. Our staff trust and have purchased from Vapefiend, Namaste/EveryoneDoesIt/Herbalize (all the same company) and Hedonist Club; all reputable UK companies who offer a great service.