Part 3: Visual walkthrough of deconstructed vape pen hardware
This took much longer than expected. I...don't always know how clear my communication is, and from some of the feedback on the initial set, there were gaps.
From the initial feedback, I built in diagrams (example above), akin to "You Are Here" maps, to illustrate what the images are trying to convey and "where" in the vape pen the image is located, and highlighted key points and annotations in red.
Prior to this experience, I did not know what the insides of a vape pen looked like and I suspect the same for those reading this.
Q: Would you voluntarily inhale vapor that had been sitting on 40-80 milligrams of metal solder, (regardless of whether it contained cadmium)?
A: You would not.
It is readily apparent that certain models of inhalation-activated vape devices expose the user to the toxic contents of the battery compartment (leachable metal solder). This is true, regardless of whether cadmium is ultimately determined to be the cause of EVALI.
Not all vape pens pose this hazard, but there are no unified international standards regarding the quality of their construction and no standards at all on the products imported to the United States.
The source of the problem associated with EVALI/VAPI illness has yet to be ascertained. Regardless of the cause (most likely a chemical contaminant, not vaping itself), bans do not work and would almost certainly promote more harm by fueling the illicit market for vape devices. A rationale approach to harm reduction would be to model e-cig and vape device safety requirements after those currently being implemented by the European Union Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). These include sharp limits on heavy metal content (like cadmium) in batteries and device power circuit safety testing. The EU is still not experiencing an outbreak of vape-related illness.
Audience: Vape product manufacturers in the United States
Having complete freedom to operate ended with the start of the vaping illness epidemic. I suggest a discussion with your Shenzen suppliers to request they provide you with the same TPD-compliant hardware used in vape devices imported by countries in the European Union.
Pro-actively moving toward regulation is problematic (for one thing, the industry needs more qualified and trustworthy labs), but it is more profitable than the cost of irrational blanket bans on whole products and markets.