According to CBSNews.com, in Utah the number of lung disease related cases and a single death has risen, a result of people using e-cigarettes as well as vape devices. In fact on Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health confirmed there are now 21 cases of lung disease with connection to vaping. A week ago, the total was a mere five. This news comes on the heels of nearly 200 cases of a mysterious severe lung illness among vape users nationwide.
The question is; if vaping is supposed to be a safer alternative to smoking why are all these people getting affected? The answer is simple, counterfeit cartridges. The vape industry has become a booming industry as a result, any and everyone is trying to cash in on this new sought over business hoping to expand their brand and make a quick buck. That being said, this leads to a raise non-reputable sources, which unfortunately lead to those being sick.
With a raise in this public health crisis it has forced top industry mavens to jump into action, protecting their customers by coming up with ways to verify the authenticity of their products, eliminating potentially hazardous counterparts.
To have any even better understanding let’s break down what is a cartridge and what exactly is supposed to be in there.
What’s Inside Your Cartridge?
A cartridge is the small little attachment you connect to your vaporizer device. Compatible with oils, concentrates and e-liquids, this vessel can either be sold pre-filled which means it is already filled and ready to go or fillable, allowing you to choose the material of your choosing. Typically coming in 0.5mL or 1mL, they are discrete, flavorful enhancements, easy to use, relatively odor free components that pack a punch.
Vape cartridges are made of three components; the mouthpiece, the chamber and the heating element aka the atomizer.
The mouthpiece is where your vapor comes out. You inhale taking a draw from the mouthpiece for a few seconds and you’re enjoying sessions.
In the chamber is the goodies. The chamber is either filled with your choice of concentrate, oil or e-liquids.
The heating element or atomizer is activated when contact is activated by the battery, heating up the chamber and vaporizer your materials till they transform into inhalable vapor.
Are There Toxins in Your Vape Carts?
In the lung disease cases, the most prevalent problem in these situations are counterfeit cartridges. According to Weedmaps, illegal concentrate cartridges can contain high levels of pesticides. Consuming these at concentrated levels these pesticides can cause a slew of hazardous medical problems. To ensure the best possible vape cartridge, it is important to purchase from reputable brands that also disclose third-party testing as well as screening for pesticides.
Another red flag to look out for are unsafe amounts of toxic metals, which includes lead. In a 2018 study conducted by the scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers found unsafe amounts of toxic metals as well as lead were leaking from heating coils of counterfeit e-cigarettes and seeping into the aerosol that was vaporized. As the FDA continues to gravel on how to properly regulate e-cigarettes and vape pens, its up to the companies as well as manufacturers to test and catch these potentially hazardous products.
States like California have stepped into action to eliminate the problem. Now requiring lab testing, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control has implemented Phase 3 testing standards starting January 1, 2019. This testing sniffs out any heavy metals that maybe in your cartridge.
Tips on Buying a Real Cartridge
With the rise of vaping, its popularity as only increased. With that so have the stream of fake cartridges. Even the top, most recognizable brands and companies have had to battle against fake vape cartridge look a likes. These counterfeit cartridges are being sold with similar branding, logos, and packaging as the producers are making it difficult for the normal user to tell which is legit.
The potential of consuming tainted oils or concentrates can be dangerous. When buying, make sure your cartridge has some sort of description, identifying it has been lab tested. Fake cartridges typically do not pass these, and often have contaminants from cutting agents. Make sure your cartridge is tested and up to industry standards.
Also, many manufactures are now being proactive about helping their patrons. Companies like Heavy Hitters for instance have included a list of authorized retailers on its website so customers know they are buying the real deal. They even included an online form where customers can report counterfeits. Other companies are using social media platforms to raise awareness against the counterfeits.
In legal states, the best way to avoid any counterfeit vape cartridge is to purchase products from a reputable source, retailers or dispensaries. Unfortunately, this isn’t the greatest option for those who don’t live in areas where recreational cannabis is still illegal. There are certain precautions that one can take to reduce the chances of buying a fake cartridge.
When ordering online, make sure to seek out verified products. This will cut down through the search, limiting your search to authorized, verified products. This guarantees you are getting a legitimate cartridge for your device.
Another tip is price! If the price of a cartridge is significantly lower than the market price, that could be a red flag as well. Think about this, you buy what you pay for, meaning if a product is cheap, its cheap for a reason. Its quality may not be up to par with the others and that is why it is being sold so low.
If you have a vape cartridge that you think is fake, you can do your part and reach out to the manufacturer and let them know about the fake. Go to the website and compare your cartridge to the legitimate ones. Every cartridge should have a serial number, QR code or a certain set of characteristics to help you decipher the reals from the fakes. A quick Google search and you should get your answer.
We hope this gives you a better understanding of Real vs. Fake Cartridges and hopefully helps you stay away from the counterfeits. Vape safe, vape smart and happy vaping!