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    Herbal Vaporizers are not E-cigarettes: Better Believe It!

    October 02, 2023 2 min read

    Herbal Vaporizers are not E-cigarettes: Better Believe It!

    In July of 2019, eight Wisconsin teenagers were hospitalized with severe lung damage. Claims that vaping caused their illness swept across social media and is, predictably, being used to push for more government restrictions on e-cigarettes. Since millions enjoy over-the-counter e-cigarettes, it certainly would be alarming if they started getting people sick enough to be hospitalized.

    Black market weed vaporizers are sometimes used by minors. They are also prevalent in places where weed is illegal for adult use. Last year, health officials in Manchester, UK, warned the public about the dangers of black-market vapes after nine people were admitted to the hospital. Instead of all-natural THC oil, the street vapes contained “spice” – also known as “K2” or “skunk” on the streets. Spice, as it is most popularly known, is a dangerous mixture of herbs and chemicals. At this moment, it’s unclear exactly what kinds of vape the Wisconsin teens had used. But, it seems highly likely that most, if not all, were using black-market devices.

    Though journalists have mostly ignored this fundamental detail, they are not wrong about the Wisconsin story being a cautionary tale. Whether it was a THC “spice” product or just a knockoff nicotine vape, these people turned to the black market because they couldn’t acquire cannabis or e-cigarettes legally. Black markets only arise when products are unavailable or exorbitantly costly on the legal market, often as a result of well-meaning efforts to protect people from their own choices. Opioids, though dangerous on their own, become even more deadly when addicts turn to the black market and use the cheaper, fentanyl- or heroin-laced versions.

    Those who turn to the black market to purchase cannabis products often unknowingly consume “spice” or even rat poison and die or are severely injured. Currently, anti-vaping advocates have demanded bans and severe restrictions on e-cigarettes. Unsurprisingly, they’re already using the Wisconsin story to fuel their marketing about vaping triggering an epidemic of teen nicotine use. If that happens, expect to see more poisonings, more tainted vapes, and more exploding e-cigarettes.


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