The study titled, “Assessment of Nicotine and Cannabis Vaping and Respiratory Symptoms in Young Adults,” surveyed 2,000 young adults who had recently graduated from Southern California high schools in an online questionnaire.
“With (Covid-19) happening, we just kind of knew that people who had vaped nicotine or had vaped cannabis were presenting a unique respiratory illness that wasn’t really well understood,” said lead study author Jessica Braymiller, a postdoctoral researcher at the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science at the University of Southern California. “The pandemic has really underscored the importance of understanding what could make respiratory symptoms worse.”
The unexplored variables and factors
In an article about the study, CNN reported that Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, rightly pointed out that the study “makes a good effort” at trying to identify the risks of the types of inhaled exposures, but there are a lot of potential differences in terms of the quality and quantity of devices people use, the ingredients and how long people vape.
In December 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed that EVALI, the infamous “vape related” lung disease that has sadly spread across the US, was caused by Vitamin E Acetate Oil. This compound was mainly found in illicit THC Vaping Cartridges purchased on the blackmarket.
The relationship between EVALI and legal marijuana markets
Supporting this finding, a study published by JAMA Network Open in April 2020, had indicated that the occurrence of EVALI was less common in US States where marijuana products are legal. “Our results are suggestive that those in recreational marijuana states may be less likely to purchase illegal marijuana products on the black market,” said Dr. Alex Hollingsworth, assistant professor in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and co-author of the JAMA Network Open study.
Subsequent data published in the journal Addiction had similarly reported a negative relationship between the occurrence of EVALI and the availability of legal marijuana markets. “A negative relationship between EVALI prevalence and rates of pre-outbreak vaping and marijuana use suggests that well-established markets may have crowded-out use of riskier, informally sourced e-liquids.”
To this effect, one may argue that the current study has not only failed to reveal anything unknown, but also that it did delve into the different variables and factors which would have led to a significant finding.