EVALI and the internet
From February 2019 to February 2020, over 2,800 hospital admissions and 68 deaths were attributed to E-cigarette, or Vaping, product use-Associated Lung Injury ('EVALI'). Most patients reported THC use, and vitamin E acetate was involved in many cases. The extant literature has shown that States with marijuana legalization and higher marijuana use rates had lower EVALI prevalence. Google Trends has been utilized to investigate the effects of EVALI on vaping cessation Google searches. In the present study, Google Trends data are used to investigate the relationship between search interest in vaping- and marijuana-related search terms and EVALI prevalence. Results demonstrate statistically significant negative correlation between interest in marijuana and marijuana vaping search terms and EVALI cases. No significant correlation was measured between nicotine vaping interest and EVALI cases. This may suggest States in which individuals searched online for licit sources of marijuana vaping products saw fewer EVALI cases, further implicating illicit sources of vaping products, many of which contained vitamin E acetate, as strongly linked to EVALI.
Author: Floe Foxon