black market vape

E-cigarettes, also called vape pens, can be used with nicotine or cannabis cartridges. Officials investigating the outbreak of illness have focused on black-market items, but officials are now advising people to stop vaping entirely. 

The onset of lung damage incidents from vaping has been so sudden in recent months that it has rung the alarms at the California Department of Public Health. On Sept. 24, the CDPH issued a health advisory informing the public on the dangers of vaping. 

Since June 2019, the CDPH has received 102 reports of vaping-related illness with two deaths caused by vaping. This has caused the CDPH to launch an investigation, collaborating with other states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments and health providers. 

Though the investigation is still ongoing, the CDPH has noticed some patterns. Their advisory states: "Almost all people with lung damage from vaping say that they vaped or 'dabbed' the cannabis products THC and CBD in cartridges, waxes, oils and other forms." 

Some patients have also reported vaping only nicotine, or vaping a combination of cannabis and nicotine products, so the direct cause remains unclear. What is clear however, is that "sudden lung damage" is now a "new health problem." 

Though the CDPH regulates manufacturers of cannabis vaping products, they along with the Monterey County Health Department urge everyone to stop vaping until the investigation is finished.

"The risk of vaping now includes death," the CDPH states. 

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Local efforts are launching alongside the investigation. The Monterey Health Department is working with the Sheriff's Department to provide outreach, education to ensure that underage people do not get their hands on black-market products. They also advise those who use vape products to not just quit for the time being, but altogether.

More information on vaping can be found at Monterey County Health Department’s Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Division website, or by calling (831) 755‑4607. 

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Marielle Argueza is a staff writer and calendar editor for the Weekly. She covers education, immigration and culture. Additionally, she covers the areas of Marina and South County. She occasionally writes about food and runs the internship program.

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