Six Vaping Related Deaths in the U.S.


Vaping devices have caused over 450 cases of mysterious illness and six deaths in the United States alone. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Tony Barbuto, Contributing Writer

by Tony Barbuto

A common misconception of college students is that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, vaping devices have only been around for roughly 10 years, and cases involving deadly pulmonary diseases have just come into play recently. Although the direct cause of these sudden illnesses is still unknown, scientists suspect it could be vitamin E.

Large amounts of vitamin E are typically found in the THC cartridges used in marijuana vapes. The FDA has recently put out a recommendation to stop vaping any product containing THC, and the CDC has also issued a warning for consumers to stop using e-cigarettes.

The proof is in the pudding, as six Americans have died from vaping. The FDA is unable to regulate all major vaping companies’ products, therefore nobody can be sure the product they are buying is completely safe. More importantly, if there is one thing to take away from all of this, everyone must stop buying vaping products from the black market immediately. Anyone can buy empty cartridges and fill them up with whatever liquid they please. There are plenty of well-known websites that these people can use to sell their fake product to anyone. 

Users are diluting their cartridges with products that can cause permanent damage to your lungs. People can do this with nicotine products or THC. It’s a simple trick that these people are continuously doing to make a quick buck. In my opinion, no vaping product can be worth experiencing the symptoms of the 450 cases of severe pulmonary diseases found nationwide. 

Constant coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath are symptoms that nobody wants. If these symptoms are avoidable, then one must do their best to avoid them. If you have socially used a vaping device on one or two occasions, these illnesses most likely will not affect you.

However, in order to avoid severe lung issues for your future, as well as an early grave, stop buying vaping products completely. 

Juul has been successful in leading the e-cigarette market over the last couple years. Now that the FDA is threatening to impose regulations on them, some of their competitors, who have not received as much media attention and would be exempt from the ban on flavored vapors, could start to take their business.

Do not be fooled. They are all the same, and all carry the same risk. 

The black market is the most common place where fake products can be purchased and the most common way to destruct your lungs. Anyone making these products is doing so at their own discretion.

Even well-known brands include whatever ingredients they want. Any type of cartridge containing THC is just as likely to have vitamin E as any other on the black market. Stay away from the street purchasing of vaping products as a whole. Do not give someone your money to damage your body — that is a deal nobody should ever take.

People need to realize that the six people who have died were just like everyone else. They had no idea something like that would happen, and we have no idea how many more fatal cases are to come. Although it is possible that the chemical responsible for the deaths could be eliminated from the market in the future, scientists are not yet sure that vitamin E is the only chemical causing the deaths, and vaping remains extremely dangerous. It is possible that there will come a day when vaping is safe, but that day is not today.


Tony Barbuto, GSB ’23, is undecided from Hanover, Massachusetts.