Killer vapes?

Mint ST - - FRONT PAGE -

Va­p­ing de­vices used to inhale in­tox­i­cants are in the spot­light as suspects af­ter a string of health fail­ures in the US. Five vapers have lost their lives and nearly 450 se­ri­ous cases of res­pi­ra­tory illness have been re­ported. Are vapes the cul­prit? Touted as an op­tion safer than cig­a­rettes, these giz­mos have been in use for years, even sold as to­bacco-quitting aids. Var­i­ous stud­ies back that claim.

Most of Amer­ica’s re­cent cases, though, are not re­lated to va­p­ing per se, nor even to to­bacco, but to the in­hala­tion of THC. This is the psy­choac­tive chem­i­cal found in cannabis, nat­u­ral ex­tracts of which con­tain other cannabi­noids, such as CBD, seen to play a bal­anc­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal role. Pure THC, it turns out, could be highly per­ilous. By pol­icy, In­dia is against all va­p­ing. E-cig­a­rettes have been banned. De­spite this, the coun­try has a black mar­ket for vapes, as also a closet marijuana cul­ture. Like weed smok­ers, vape users ar­gue that it’s not as harm­ful as pro­claimed. To clear the haze, we should take a close sci­en­tific look at the rel­a­tive risks of all forms of smok­ing and the sub­stances used, le­gal or il­le­gal. Per­haps the find­ings will help de­ter smok­ers and re­cal­i­brate our pol­icy.

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