Who remembers the THC vaping crisis? E-cigarette, or vaping, use-associated lung injury (EVALI) cases peaked the week of Sept. 15, 2019, at 237. They declined steadily after that. By Feb. 9, 2020, the number of THC cases dropped to four.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chalked the steady decline up to several factors, the most important of which is the “increased awareness of the risk associated with THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, product use as a result of rapid public health response,” especially after vitamin E acetate, an ingredient in illicit vape products used as a thickening agent, was quickly identified as a major culprit.
This is good news, but concerns remain over tobacco vape use by teens. Despite a decrease in overall e-cigarette use by teens, the number still using tobacco e-cigarettes remains alarmingly high. So the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) have dropped a new toolkit as a part of a collaborative program, Promoting Public Health and Safety, designed to educate communities on vapor products.
The need for the toolkit is linked to the potential nicotine dependence high school and middle school students are developing with tobacco vape use. Of all high school e-cigarette users (3.02 million), almost a quarter are using e-cigarettes every day, according to the FDA. Of all middle school e-cigarette users (550,000), a fifth are using e-cigarettes daily.
The toolkit is a comprehensive e-book targeted at helping parents and citizens to help control this usage. It outlines basic information on vapor products, what the black market is and how to spot real from counterfeit vapes. Black-market counterfeits are much cheaper since they don’t require age verification, making them a perfect replacement among teenagers.
“Black market vape products are a health and safety risk to our communities,” Michael Bouchard — the sheriff of Oakland County, Wis. and a vice president with the Major County Sheriffs of America — said in a statement accompanying the release. “We must take action. I am pleased to be an early adopter of this innovative partnership to educate consumers through this toolkit and to arm them with actionable resources to partner with law enforcement and community leaders.”