As it turns out, it appears that this death was not caused by electronic cigarettes, but by THC vape carts.
I suggested that the health department's reporting of the death as being associated with the use of "electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices" would be like reporting a death from contaminated lettuce by saying: "The Tennessee Department of Health has reported one death in a patient with severe Salmonella poisoning associated with the consumption of lettuce or other vegetables."
However, I realize that this analogy is not actually correct. More precisely, it would be like reporting a death from contaminated lettuce by saying: "The Tennessee Department of Health has reported one death in a patient with severe Salmonella poisoning associated with the consumption of artichokes or other vegetables."
The Rest of the Story
It seems to me that one wouldn't report a death associated with the consumption of contaminated lettuce as being "associated with the consumption of artichokes or other vegetables" unless you were intentionally trying to deceive the public into thinking that artichokes were responsible for the death.
Wouldn't you just report the death as having been associated with the consumption of contaminated lettuce? By adding in a product that you know was not responsible for the death, it has the appearance of:
- deliberately trying to mislead the public;
- trying to undermine the public's connecting of the death with contaminated lettuce; and
- intentionally trying to blame artichokes for something you know was not associated with artichokes.
Even the name that the CDC is using for the disease is an indication of an intentional attempt to attribute the outbreak to electronic cigarettes rather than THC vape carts. Originally, the CDC called this "vaping-associated respiratory illness" (VARI). But they have now changed the name to "e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury."
I am quite sure that if 90% of the patients reported using nicotine and only 10% reported exclusively using THC, they would not be calling this "THC or vaping product use associated lung injury." It seems clear that in the very name itself, the CDC is trying to primarily blame e-cigarettes for an illness that they know is predominantly linked to THC vaping products.