If a number of people who vape marijuana report detrimental effects, is it fair for government and state agencies to sound the alarm about e-cigarettes, the device, rather than what's in it? 

Sure. I am all for smoking cessation and harm reduction products, but e-cigarettes are a device and a device can have lots of things put in it, including marijuana or whatever people might use. THC vape oil and cannabis vaping products are really sketchy, so obviously the issue may not be the e-cigarettes themselves, it may be bogus contaminants supplement hucksters are including.

But the devices will be the common denominator.

Since 2015, there have been 215 cases of illness in 25 states that may be linked to vaping devices,  but those numbers have to be put in context. That means there vaping illnesses are 25 percent of the illnesses people get from drinking raw milk, and the number of people drinking raw milk is a small fraction of the number of people vaping. Especially if it's really an "epidemic" and not, as data show, kids who experiment once or a few times and say it on surveys but don't become hooked.

So 200 in four years is not many, and there are a lot of confounders. The biggest confounder will be marijuana vaping but the symptoms are FDA and CDC have listed among the 200 diseases are spread so far across the biological map it is impossible to consistently blame nicotine vapor, which is what CDC does.

Some illnesses are easy to explain. Many vapers are former or even current smokers so pulmonary issues are no surprise. Obviously some could be buying and mixing their own nicotine juice. But vomiting and diarrhea? That is a contaminant in whatever they are smoking.

How to get real answers

The first thing FDA and CDC need to do is take an honest look at this and find out what real numbers are. While FDA has recently been good about guiding vaping toward regulation without being heavy-handed, CDC is fundamentalist about smoking cessation, opioids, pre-diabetes, and more. You name it, and CDC statisticians are working overtime to scare the public under the guise of "prevention" - when they are not spending $10,000,000 to talk about global warming anyway.

So FDA will have to take the lead because few trust the CDC regarding any data where they don't just repackage information they get from states, like vaccines. It will be a struggle to get real answers.

E-cigarette users already don't trust government because when the Obama FDA got totalitarian about banning all modern vape products but then the Trump EPA gave them a gew years to get regulatory ducks in order, a lot of people who thought government health and science agencies were ideologically neutral discovered they are nothing of the kind. CDC is very much a holdover from the ban happy years.

But the vaping community should take FDA seriously precisely because they are not reflexively against everything the way CDC is. They are a lot more like the British NHS when it comes to ending smoking than other agencies.

The first thing FDA should do is not lump nicotine vaping under this disease umbrella unless they can show it is just one thing people with illnesses are consuming. Activists use the language of science against scientists - words like "perhaps", "possibly", "unclear" have one meaning in science articles and another in culture and anti-science zealots say those words mean scientists don't know anything - but regulatory bodies often do the same thing. They will say "possibly" to suggest they believe it is so when they don't really know that, but it furthers the agenda of the current administration.