October 18, 2019
Vaping And Your Health: What You Need To Know
A great number of medical professionals, researchers, patients and consumers are currently in a desperate search for accurate information on vaping and what’s now being called Vape Associated Pulmonary Injury (VAPI). The illness, which was first reported in September 2019, has impacted hundreds of patients across the nation, resulted in numerous fatalities and placed an entire industry on notice to improve practices, products and safety measures.
While an exact cause has not yet been determined, most are looking to three specific areas to search for clues on why so many vape users have become ill recently, despite the existence of vape products for many years. Here’s where researchers are focusing their efforts, and what you need to know about each to make informed decisions about your vape use:
All vaporization products are NOT created equal. First, be extremely wary of “street” products produced for the black market. In fact, don’t just be wary. Avoid them like the plague. Most (if not all) black-market products sold are cheaply produced overseas, are completely lacking in any quality control or regulatory oversight and contain additives proven to be harmful to human health (and currently a primary suspect in causing VAPI). The reason these products are so unhealthy is easy to identify: Profit. Businesses creating black-market or counterfeit products have absolutely no reason to spend the time and money to create safe products. They are not accountable to anyone other than their bank account. Even some product manufacturers in the regulated market sometimes use harmful additives in order to thin the oil product so it works with cheaply produced cartridges. In order to feel safe with your vaporization experience, only purchase products from brands and retailers you trust – and make certain you can identify the ingredients you’re putting into your body. Finally, only purchase products from manufacturers who refuse to use additives in products and NEVER purchase black-market products. If that cheap product (whether from a regulated manufacturer or the black market) seems too good to be true, it’s probably unsafe to use.
Two critical factors that help determine whether a product is safe are the materials used to manufacture the cartridge and how the cartridge interacts with a vaporizer. Cartridges with metal components run a high risk of heavy metals contaminating the oil over time as products are manufactured, packaged, shipped and sit on retail shelves. In addition, cartridges that have a metal filament running through them are extremely likely to leach heavy metals into the oil. The filament running through the oil is what is used by the vaporizer to heat the oil, and that repeated heating and cooling of the metal with each inhale can allow contamination of heavy metals to occur. Since heavy metal leaching is another key suspect in VAPI cases, cartridges containing metals should be avoided. Pay close attention to how your oil cartridge products are manufactured and don’t settle for less expensive products that enable heavy metal leaching.
The way in which a vape product creates vapor is as important as the product and cartridge used in the device. Many cartridges today fall under what’s called either a pod-based, disposable pen or 510 thread cartridge design, based on technology developed in the early 2000s. Of these three types of products, the pod-based variety may provide some measure of safe use, merely because it is the most recently developed technology. However, all of these cartridges contain a metal filament that heats the oil to create vapor. These filaments work by heating the entire contents of the cartridge to vaporization temperature for each inhalation. When oil directly contacts the filament, it unavoidably burns the oil (i.e., combustion) and creates carcinogens in the process. This constant heating and re-heating of product degrades the oil, encourages heavy metal leaching and can cause contamination of the product over time. Unfortunately, none of these cartridges can provide a consistently safe experience for consumers.
Gofire has been sounding the alarm on the danger of additives from the day the company was founded. It’s a primary reason the company has taken nearly five years and millions of dollars in research and development to create its patented Gofire Inhaler and Gofire SmartCartridge.
As a result, Gofire’s pulmonary drug delivery platform eliminates the conditions currently being investigated for health-damaging effects. The technology in the Gofire Inhaler utilizes true convection vaporization, not conduction or combustion, to ensure only pure medicine vapor is inhaled and no carcinogens are produced. Gofire’s technology physically extrudes the medicine from the SmartCartridge through a thermal barrier and into a separate convection oven for vaporization. This eliminates the common practice of re-heating the oil with each inhale, which causes degradation of the medicine and can allow harmful compounds to contaminate the oil. Gofire SmartCartridges were developed with safety in mind, and are molded with Class 6 pharmaceutical-grade, FDA approved BPA-free polymers, abolishing concerns about heavy metals leaching into the medicine. As a condition for filling its cartridges, Gofire requires that partners abstain from using any outside excipients, including Vitamin E Acetate, Propylene Glycol and others -- and Gofire SmartCartridges were designed to work with even the most viscous oils so that no filling additives are necessary.