The vaping market was on the fast track until a strange pulmonary disease appeared in 2019 and threw everyone for a loop. Then came the new year, along with COVID-19, a respiratory illness that has most government officials asking people to wear masks and maintain social distance in order to prevent the spread. With this in mind, the use of vapes and cigarettes should be fizzling out, but experts don’t think that’s the case.
While most people know that smoking harms the lungs, a lot of people are still smoking marijuana as a way to cope with the stress of the virus and long hours of boredom. Smoking marijuana may cause lung irritation and chronic bronchitis but, unlike smoking cigarettes, it’s not associated with significant abnormalities in lung functioning. While there are obvious risks, people who smoke cigarettes are the ones who are dealing more harm to their lungs, especially since this act is likely repeated several times a day.
Vaping is generally associated with less lung damage. Still, experts warn about the unknown chemicals present in the cartridges. “If you’re using a vape pen, you’re taking some chances that there’s stuff other than pure cannabis oil in that cartridge,” internal medicine specialist Erick Kaufman tells The Cut. “We should all be really protective of our respiratory tracts right now, so it’s probably not a good time to be doing any inhaling of cannabis if you can help it.”
Despite the clear medical advice, experts in the cannabis industry believe vaping will make a comeback over the summer, one that’s even stronger than in previous years. Tom Brooksher, CEO of Clear Cannabis Inc., told Forbes that summer is traditionally a time associated with vaping. “As restrictions are lifted, we expect a pent-up demand for cannabis products that can be conveniently used in conjunction with outdoor activities,” he said.
Other experts say that the increase of stress that people are experiencing and the fact that vapes are viewed as more personal devices than joints, which are traditionally shared among friends, are also reasons why the vaping market will continue to grow as the year moves forward. “For vaping specifically, our customers reported a notable shift from typical joints to vape pens, which was largely driven by health and sanitary concerns,” explains Spherex CFO Dan Gardenswartz.
If there’s one thing we’ve come to learn over the past couple of months it’s that altering our behaviors can be difficult. Even when faced with an unprecedented threat that challenges every aspect of our lives, life goes on, and people find ways of doing what they want to do.