CDC Study Finds Direct Link Between Legal Cannabis and Vaping Illness Outbreak

Finds 82% of vaping illness patients used a cannabis product; at least 1 in 6 from legal sources, dispensaries
By: NYS Association of County Health Officials
 
ALBANY, N.Y. - Jan. 17, 2020 - PRLog -- From the NYS Association of County Health Officials and the Medical Society of the State of New York.

-- A troubling new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed a direct link between legally obtained cannabis and the nation's outbreak of vaping related illnesses and deaths.

The study found that 82% of vaping illness patients had used a cannabis product, and at least one in six cases (16%) were caused by legalized cannabis products. The study found 78 percent of the illnesses were linked to cannabis products obtained from family, friends and others, which may have also been initially acquired legally.

"The science is now clear: legalized cannabis is making Americans sick and it will make more New Yorkers sick if we rush into a legal adult use program," said Daniel J. Stapleton, MBA, President of the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) and Public Health Director in Niagara County. "To approve legalized adult use cannabis at a time when we know it is making people gravely ill abandons our first obligation of protecting the public."

MSSNY President, Arthur Fougner, MD, said, "This recent report from the CDC now indicates that the vast majority of cases of vape-related lung illness are linked to the vaping of THC, from not only illicit sources but also from some legally procured marijuana. The bottom line is vaping any substance is NOT safe at this time and we must ensure that all citizens in New York State are protected by ensuring that the state continues to prohibit the use of recreational marijuana.

Another state proposal related to adult use cannabis calls for establishing a Cannabis Research Center, which, according to the 2020 State of the State briefing book, will emphasize determining "what is safe, what is effective, and what parameters define healthy and safe dosing."

Stapleton added: "While we support research, we are concerned the state's own Cannabis Research Center proposal acknowledges that we don't know enough to enact a safe program. Moreover, what we do know indicates a provable threat to public health. We need to hit the pause button now before we cause further harm."

Public health officials and physicians are calling on lawmakers to stage their activities by first authorizing the research center, and then consider legalization after the center makes recommendations.

"It just makes sense to understand the implications and dangers before we act," said Stapleton.

CDC Study: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6902e2.htm?s_cid=mm6902e2_w,

Contact
Sarah Ravenhall, MHA, CHES, NYSACHO Executive Director
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