The death toll from vaping-related lung disease is still rising, as are the number of identified cases. The CDC and health community are still trying to figure out the exact cause, but it seems predominantly linked to THC cartridges. The clampdown on vaping is in full effect, but at the same time smoking and other "non-vapour" products thrive.
The state of the US lung disease outbreak
At the time of writing 18 people have died and over 1000 cases have been identified in 48 states.
There is still no definitive answer as to what exactly is causing this but the FDA has issued a warning for people to avoid THC vapes obtained off the street (black market).
Study contradicts FDA findings on lung disease cause
A study by the Mayo Clinic Arizona claims that the "lung disease" is in fact caused by chemical burns. If accurate, this contradicts the FDAs claim that oils are responsible for the outbreak.
The chemicals responsible have not been identified as yet.
Crackdown on black market THC cartridges
Police departments across the US are cracking down on distributors of illicit THC cartridges - as these are most closely linked to the current vaping illness outbreak.
What the are finding is a vast black market for illicit THC vaping products.
In the midst of a vaping epidemic, IQOS launches in the US
After recently receiving FDA approval, Phillip Morris (Altria) is quietly rolling out their smokeless alternative - the IQOS (I Quit Ordinary Smoking) - which heats (not burns) traditional cigarettes.
The product is targeted exclusively at smokers - non-smokers (and under 21s) aren't allowed to try or buy the product from the IQOS shops.
To distance themselves from the current vaping issues, they claim the product to be "non-vaping", but of course that is exactly what it is - it vapourizes tobacco instead of combusting it.
On the other side, JUUL who is part owned by Altria, has brought over another Altria executive to handle the vaping situation.
The vaping crackdown is bad for smokers
Many are starting to question what effect the current vaping crackdown will have on smokers (and vapers) - particularly with regards to keeping them away from one of the most effective smoking cessation products to date.
All the while, cigarettes remain unchallenged and "business as usual".