A 14-year-old Canadian boy’s death earlier this year has been linked to vaping nicotine in an electronic cigarette. Kyle Losse was found on his bathroom floor next to an e-vape after his stepmother heard a loud thud. He died in hospital two days later of an apparent brain injury, when his family made the tragic decision to take him off life support.
Now, Kyle’s stepmother Niki Losse is calling for stricter regulations on e-cigarettes in Canada. With some parents concerned that vaping e-cigarettes is a gateway to vaping cannabis, and with the US market often looking to Canada as a trailblazer within our #CannabisCommunityInfo, potential new regulations in the Great White North could affect the US cannabis industry, whether this “gateway” theory is true or not.
“I know that these things are sold at the malls and easily available to children and to teenagers,” Losse, talking about vapes and e-cigs, told Canada’s Global News. “And I feel like they are marketed to teenagers. All these different flavors make it seem so appealing to them and that’s not the way it should be.”
Can You Really Die From E-Cigs?
While nicotine is toxic and an overdose is possible, it would take a lot to kill a person. Indeed, the warning labels tell us that it’s unsafe to consume more than 10 ml of nicotine in e-liquid form because it becomes potentially lethal — but that warning is for adults, not teenagers.
That being said, nicotine overdose deaths are rare. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, while cigarette smoke causes more than half a million deaths per year, including around 41,000 deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke, there are currently no statistics on annual e-liquid overdose deaths. Since the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes, calls to the CDC for nicotine toxicity have increased, although this particular toxicity rarely results in death.
As we know in the #CannabisCommunityInfo, marijuana has never killed anyone. It doesn’t matter if you vape, dab, or smoke a blunt, ingesting too much cannabis is never lethal.
Should Regulations Be Stronger?
Obviously, Niki Losse thinks so, but would that stop teens from getting their hands on e-cigs? According to the Global News, Kyle Losse got his e-vape from a friend’s father. Plus, the Canadian Vaping Association has been quick to point out that these products are marketed for adult use only.
Yet, e-cigarettes remain more accessible than legal cannabis vape pens — and more dangerous. Indeed, unlike liquid nicotine, cannabis oil is nontoxic, so there’s no risk of death.
Are E-Cigs Even to Blame?
It’s still not clear if Kyle Losse died from a nicotine overdose; the British Columbia Coroners Service is still investigating the matter. If it’s proven that his cause of death can be linked to nicotine overdose or intoxication, Losse would have had to have vaped a lot of liquid nicotine in quick succession, as only a teenage boy would. How much exactly? It’s estimated that 500 to 1000 mg of ingested nicotine is enough to kill an adult. Not to mention, there could be other nasty chemicals — including lead, chromium, manganese and other toxic heavy metals — found in that e-cig, making it not meant for rapid-succession puffs.
With cannabis oil in a regulated industry, this wouldn’t be a problem, seeing as lab testing is required. Having cannabis products tested by a third-party laboratory ensures cannabis products are free of mold and harmful chemicals like pesticides, and are Proposition 65 compliant.
California’s Prop. 65 requires a warning on all consummerable products, including cannabis, that contain chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. There are more than 900 chemicals listed as not being Prop. 65 compliant and therefore unfit for human consumption. And of those 900 chemicals, a handful found in e-cigs are of particular concern due to their carcinogenic properties, including acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, the latter of which is an embalming agent used to preserve human and animal remains.
The bottom line? Vaping cannabis is simply better for you than vaping nicotine. Vaping your bud doesn’t cause cancer like nicotine products do and may even have the ability to kill cancer cells. Cannabis has so many medicinal benefits, including control of epileptic seizures and reducing chronic inflammation, that we don’t have time to list them all. But if you’re using an e-cig to relax and unwind, armed with this information, perhaps now’s the time to switch to vaping cannabis.