Truth gets in the way of another good story

SCIENCE should matter above everything to America’s Center for Disease Control (CDC). In practice, politics matters just as much. Reason reports that a Minnesota study has finally marshaled reliable data on the cause of a spate of deaths and illnesses among vapers in the US. It seems the culprit is vitamin E acetate, “a diluting and thickening agent found in black-market THC products.” In other words, those affected (mostly young people) have been vaping a cannabis byproduct that clogs the lungs. It killed at least 47 of them. Just a month ago, the CDC stated it still didn’t know what was causing the severe breathlessness and chest pain that also hospitalised more than 1500 people nationwide. It did give the affliction a name, though – as it happens, an inaccurate one: e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI).

Does this mean the CDC has now withdrawn its advice against using e-cigarettes? No. For one thing, the media likes the melodrama of a mysterious and dangerous new illness being linked to vaping. More importantly, anti-smoking zealots in the US and their wowser counterparts in this country are keen to exploit EVALI to prosecute their beloved war against puffing anything. And then there’s good old-fashioned pride: saying anything even vaguely nice about e-cigarettes sticks in their craws like deadly cannabis goo.

This entry was posted in Fake News, Take Nanny down. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Truth gets in the way of another good story

  1. Scott Osmond

    CDC has gotten a fair bit wrong over the last couple of years. 2013 salt intake, 2014 ebola, 2019 e cigs and they’ve had an anti-firearms hard-on for some time now. That’s just off the top of the head without searches. This is what happens when you use actavists instead of people who follow the facts.

  2. Ellen

    Vitamin E acetate is not a ‘by-product’ of cannabis. It is a synthetic form of Vitamin E used in skin creams. Its use in e-cigarettes is independent of whether they contain cannabis, nicotine or chocolate. Whatever your views on vaping or cannabis (I don’t think much of either), there’s no need to make false statements.

  3. BorisG

    Good post. Interesting if sanity will prevail in this case. The thing is that vaping saves lives, by shifting addiction to a far less harmful product. It will be bad if idiotic zealots prevail

  4. Vaping causes job losses in the health industry. Can’t have that.

  5. Following on from that, just note how the health (or dogooder) industry works. Vaping is banned because it maintains smoking, so the health industry would suffer. Injection rooms and drug testing at concerts are encouraged so that drug taking continues and benefits the health industry. Sugar, fat, salt, alcohol, meat etc are considered bad and the health industry only encourages greater taxes, which benefits the health industry. There’s a clear pattern here.

  6. Nob

    Your last statement is so correct.

    Only the other day I said something vaguely nice about vaping to a family member – that a friend had finally given up cigarettes thanks to vaping – and they immediately and firmly retorted , with apparent irritation at my ignorance, that vaping is more likely to kill you than cigarettes.

    I’ve been on the road and not glued to the news, but I think there’s a Trump dimension somehow feeding their irritation.

  7. bespoke

    When I told my wife I was going to try vaping she had a spaz saying people are dying. I speculated (BS) to her it was something like this, so now I can give it a go plus bragging rights.

  8. Nob

    “had a spaz” is a more succinct description of the reaction I got.

  9. John Constantine

    This was not a byproduct of medicinal marijuana, but a cheap illegal profit grab by the cartels.

    Note that ‘ pill testing’ for cartel dope vape products not suggested.

    With the cartels moving into Australia, it is only that vaping isn’t a profitable niche compared to cocaine and meth and opioids that we haven’t seen it here.

    Declare the cartels terrorist organisations now.

  10. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Que? This is seriously old news. I read a piece identifying the true cause of the problems (smoking a THC substitute) at least three months ago. Basic detective work (and journalism) to establish that all the cases had one common input.

    Good to see the useless tax hoovering imbeciles have finally caught up. And no, they won’t admit to being wrong. They never do.

  11. Zatara

    Reason reports that a Minnesota study has finally marshaled reliable data on the cause of a spate of deaths and illnesses among vapers in the US.

    Well that’s it then. The CDC can turn off the lights and go home. Not.

    These days one can find “reports” of “studies” which marshal “reliable data” on damned near anything they want to believe from eating meat to smoking cannabis.

    Does this mean the CDC has now withdrawn its advice against using e-cigarettes? No.

    Nor should they as what can’t be denied is that there is/was an issue. People were/are dying of something likely related to vaping (use of e-cigarettes). Until that something can be definitely identified and eliminated that issue remains. A single study from Minnesota is a potential piece of data, not the solution.

  12. Until that something can be definitely identified and eliminated that issue remains.

    Kids are dying at every music concert from drugs. That ‘something’ has been clearly identified but no effort is being taken to eliminate the cause, only attempts to make it ‘safer’. The same applies to injecting rooms.

    So what’s the big deal about vaping?

  13. C.L.

    Nor should they as what can’t be denied is that there is/was an issue. People were/are dying of something likely related to vaping (use of e-cigarettes).

    Yes, the issue was young people vaping black market cannabis.
    Did you not read the post?

    The cause of the 47 deaths is now established.
    They had nothing to do with conventional nicotine vaping.

  14. Zatara

    Let me repeat the title of the link you qouted:

    Study Finds Nearly All Minnesota Patients With Vaping-Related Lung Injuries Used Illegal THC Products Containing Suspect Additive

    It doesn’t say a damned thing about finding the cause of ALL vaping related deaths and illnesses. Much less the cause of any deaths outside Minnesota.

    Kids are dying at every music concert from drugs. That ‘something’ has been clearly identified but no effort is being taken to eliminate the cause, only attempts to make it ‘safer’.

    Really? No attempt at eliminating the cause? Next we’ll be told that there is no such thing as a “war of drugs”. And when did the CDC declare that taking drugs at concerts was “safe”, or even legal?

    Just so we are clear, THIS is what the CDC says about e-cigarette/vaping risk.

    “While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other chemicals of concern to EVALI. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak.”

    The CDC has a duty of care to take the conservative (little c) approach to this situation. Nobody has proven that a particular illegal THC element is the cause of ALL vaping related deaths so no, the CDH shouldn’t be giving it a clean bill of health.

  15. C.L.

    There have been multiple studies and the results are conclusive.

    In states where the products used have been reported, the share of patients who admitted vaping THC ranges from 83 percent to 100 percent.

    Case closed.

  16. Really? No attempt at eliminating the cause? Next we’ll be told that there is no such thing as a “war of drugs”.

    Given that all too many dogooders are demanding drug testing at concerts so that kids can take their illegal drugs ‘safely’, I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that there’s no attempt at eliminating the cause. Note the security checks at say the AFL grand final where every bag is checked for illegal products, stuff that may be legal but can’t be taken to the footy. They seem to be able to eliminate things fairly well.

    The ‘war on drugs’ seems to be more about making sure drug takers don’t kill themselves than stopping drug taking. Every major incident such as a driving offence, assault etc is defended by the fact that the perpetrator was on drugs and that should mitigate any punishment (drink driving doesn’t get the same treatment). The latter often results in the perpetrator getting off with a warning.

  17. C.L.

    Washington Post: What we know about the mysterious vaping-linked illness and deaths.

    “The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak,” the CDC has said.

    About 83 percent of 1,184 patients for whom relevant data is available reported using THC-containing products in the three months before their symptoms, the CDC said. Slightly more than a third of patients said they used those products exclusively.

    Thirteen percent said they had only vaped nicotine.

    The nationwide investigation has found no particular vaping devices or products linked to all cases and is looking into potential contamination or counterfeits. Many have also used multiple products, according to the CDC.

    Officials in Illinois and Wisconsin provided some of the strongest clues so far into what might be making people sick. They conducted in-depth interviews with 86 of their patients. The vast majority reported using illicit THC-containing prefilled vape cartridges and bought them from informal sources.

  18. Zatara

    C.L., read your own links and quotes. Nobody has proven that illicit THC products used in vaping caused ALL the vaping deaths. Not even close.

    In states where the products used have been reported, the share of patients who admitted vaping THC ranges from 83 percent to 100 percent.

    And

    About 83 percent of 1,184 patients for whom relevant data is available reported using THC-containing products in the three months before their symptoms, the CDC said. Slightly more than a third of patients said they used those products exclusively.
    Thirteen percent said they had only vaped nicotine.

    So we can just forget the 13- 17% of respondents who didn’t vape THC… because it doesn’t fit the theory?

    That’s some solid Climate Warrior style science right there.

    Again:

    While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other chemicals of concern to EVALI. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak.

    The CDC is acting responsibly in this case. They recognize the THC element of risk but can’t account for, and therefor won’t dismiss, the non-THC related cases. That’s science and the case is most certainly not closed.

  19. C.L.

    The cause of the deaths is known and established beyond all doubt.
    Case closed on that.
    Scientists will continue to look at the overall picture nationwide, certainly.
    But the CDC’s reticence does not derive from investigative rigour but rather from ideology.
    It was the CDC that allowed the e-cig panic to spread – when everybody knew the culprit was cannabis vaping. They even invented a new medical condition before any science was in – perhaps the shortest lifespan of a newly-named illness in medical history.

  20. Snoopy

    the share of patients who admitted vaping THC ranges from 83 percent to 100 percent.

    *

    About 83 percent of 1,184 patients for whom relevant data is available reported using THC-containing products

    *

    So we can just forget the 13- 17% of respondents who didn’t vape THC

    One of these is not like the others.

  21. How do we really know whether the remainder were telling the truth? They may well have not wanted to admit using illicit compounds for whatever reason.

  22. Tel

    What’s the percentage of lung injuries where vaping is NOT a factor?

    None of the reports say anything about that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid-laden_alveolar_macrophage

    As far as I can discover, the above is the actual observable symptom. In general, having a lot of fat near your lung surface is a bad thing and there’s a bunch of reasons it can happen, even simple commonplace stuff like reflux can cause this. Of course, in most situations it doesn’t kill people but it can cause shortness of breath. We already know that a whole host of bacterial and viral infections can cause lung damage so those should be at least under consideration.

    If you do your statistics by grouping the cases based on what you believe to be the cause, rather than grouping by symptom then you are presuming what you set out to test. It’s not empirical at all.

    Here’s an example: let’s suppose I want to investigate Woman Related Driving Disorder (WREDD) so I collect all of the motor accidents where a woman was driving and then I go and ask those women, “Were you angry at your husband recently?” and “Are you PMT?” and “Did the kids keep you up last night?”

    I could discover all sorts of cause and effect relationships, except for the problem that I have started the exercise by presuming the woman driver was the problem … and that’s exactly what the CDC are doing with EVALI.

    NOTE: I don’t make the claim that vaping is NOT a problem, nor do I claim that woman drivers are NOT a problem … but if you want to prove either of those things, you must make a valid statistics case for that based on the totality of samples, not throw away all samples except the ones that give you the answer you were looking for.

  23. Tel

    How do we really know whether the remainder were telling the truth?

    How do you know anyone is telling the truth?

    If you believe it is valid to ask people a question then you also must follow that up by working with the answer they give you.

    If you already think you know the answer, then don’t bother asking the question in the first place.

  24. How do you know anyone is telling the truth?

    In this instance there is a significant chance that some would not have wished to admit that they were vaping illicit substances.

    Whenever I had a medical, the doctor would always ask whether I drank and how much, I never revealed the truth.

  25. BorisG

    NOTE: I don’t make the claim that vaping is NOT a problem, nor do I claim that woman drivers are NOT a problem … but if you want to prove either of those things, you must make a valid statistics case for that based on the totality of samples, not throw away all samples except the ones that give you the answer you were looking for.

    The word of reason that clearly escapes Zatrara. Let’s ban vaping until it is conclusively proven that they it can never cause a single death or injury.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.