Sixty-six percent of adults still view e-cigarettes such as Juul as the culprit behind the lung illness that has claimed 60 lives, according to a Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults from Jan. 28-30. That figure is up 8 percentage points from a Sept. 12-14, 2019, survey, conducted near the peak of the crisis — and about three months before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified vaping products containing THC with a vitamin E acetate additive as the likely source of the lung injuries.
The CDC recently amended its suggestion of avoiding vaping altogether to a more specific recommendation to not use THC-containing products. Even so, fewer adults actually blame THC vapes for the lung illnesses, down to 28 percent in the most recent poll from 34 percent in the September survey. The initial panic of vaping-related illness made a big splash, but the updated conclusion has barely made a ripple in the mainstream news cycle.
“I think to some degree, it’s been intentional to conflate nicotine vaping with the THC-cannabis vaping, perhaps with the well-meaning motive about the teen panic about vaping increasing,” said Dr. David Abrams, professor of social and behavioral sciences at New York University’s School of Global Public Health. “I think some people are thinking, ‘Let’s just demonize all vaping,’ regardless of what the science says.”