Vape related illness in the US results from unsafe products in the market, unlike the UK where vaping products must pass certain quality standards, experts say
The recent incidents of illnesses related to vape in the United States created a health scare in the country and beyond its borders. However, evidence thus far seems to suggest that the incidents of illnesses are not results of vaping itself but caused by illicit vape fluid used by the victims.
In the United Kingdom, where no similar incidents of vape related illness and deaths have been reported, health experts assured British vapers that they face no such danger, as e-cigarette products in the UK are carefully regulated. In addition to that, e-cigarettes continue to be an effective cessation tool for British smokers who want to quit as it provides them with the nicotine they want without the harmful effects of traditional smoking.
“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,” said Martin Dockrell, head of Tobacco Control at Public Health England.
Over the last few months an outbreak of illness in the US drew attention worldwide, and US health officials began investigating more than 800 possible cases of such illnesses that are linked to vaping.
But available data from latest reports suggested that most of the cases in the US had direct link to use of illicit e-liquids bought on the streets or concocted by users at home. Some of these contained cannabis products such as THC, or synthetic cannabinoids, like spice.
Amidst all the chaos and confusion regarding vaping in the US, Public Health England stated: “Our advice on e-cigarettes remains unchanged – vaping isn’t risk free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco. Vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking and makes it much more likely you’ll quit successfully than relying on willpower alone.”
Users can also check on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website to see whether the product they are using have been registered and whether they are legal, ensuring that consumers only use quality tested products.
This allows for very close quality control by reliable authorities in the UK, where no illness and deaths similar to the US has been reported.
As US authorities continue to investigate the reasons for the 800 odd lung illnesses and 13 deaths in the country, experts in the UK reassured British vapers that there is no reason to worry.
“All the evidence to date suggests that illicit marijuana vaping products (THC oils) are the cause. In particular, a compound called tocopherol acetate may be the culprit,” Prof Linda Bauld, a public health expert at Edinburgh University told The Guardian newspaper.
In Bangladesh, the risk comes from substandard products and not THC oils, as it is not available in the country, says Schumann Zaman, president of Vape Importers and Traders Association of Bangladesh (VITAB).
Furthermore, as stated by Public Health England, e-cigarettes are an effective cessation tool and can contribute highly to public health by aiding smokers to quit smoking and switch to a safer alternative. Thus, proper regulations are necessary to ensure smokers have access to e-cigarettes as a cessation tool but do not fall prey to illicit e-liquids.