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Study: Vaping lung disease less likely in these U.S. states

man vaping

In what feels like another lifetime, before COVID-19, there was a different type of lung disease affecting some people. Vape consumers, primarily those who consumed cannabis, were suffering from a disease called EVALI, which caused respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. The disease could result in long-lasting damage to the lungs and even death. And now, a recent study reveals that U.S. states with legal cannabis programs had fewer reports of the illness.

Published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and conducted in conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the study shows that in states where cannabis is medicinally or recreationally legal, there was not as much reported EVALI. In 2019, states with marijuana laws had 42 per cent fewer cases of the condition. “Marijuana policy attributes linked to lower EVALI incidences were also associated with reduced likelihoods of vaping as one’s primary mode of use,” study authors write. “As additives in informally sourced vaping concentrates could drive future EVALI cases, marijuana policy design should account for effects on mode of use in licit and illicit markets, to limit the scope of future outbreaks,” they add.

EVALI first appeared in 2019, creating a sort of panic within the vaping community, especially since vape pens were becoming increasingly common. After some study and research, the disease was linked to an element in cannabis vapes known as vitamin E acetate, although other compounds and elements could potentially also have an influence.

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