A new study has found vaping THC may put teens at a greater risk of developing lung injuries than smoking cigarettes or cannabis, and vaping nicotine.
The study, conducted by the University of Michigan, used survey reports to come to the conclusion that adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have a greater risk of developing symptoms of lung injury such as wheezing or dry cough if they vape cannabis products. Survey responses from nearly 15,000 teens found vaping cannabis increased their risk of wheezing or whistling in the chest by 81 percent, compared to a 15 percent increase from smoking cigarettes and a nine percent risk from vaping nicotine.
“We found, and it was something that surprised us a bit, that it was the lifetime vaping cannabis that was associated with a far greater number of symptoms and a higher likelihood of having each of these symptoms than using either e-cigarettes or cigarettes,” said Carol Boyd, co-director of the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health.
The survey results were collected between 2016-2018, before the wave of lung injuries that occurred in 2019. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the lung injuries the name EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury. In an effort to prevent more cases of EVALI, cannabis regulators in Oregon have banned certain cannabis vape additives that have been found to cause lung injuries. The vaping product market is unregulated despite promises from the Food and Drug Administration to enforce standards for vape product manufacturers.“The FDA doesn’t make sure that these substances have in them what they say on the label, so you’re always at the mercy of the manufacturer,” said Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. “They’ve really not been taking the action they need to. The dates have gone by when some of the products on the market should have been submitting data to the FDA.”