Medicinal Vaping

Posted 30th January 2018 by Dave Cross
Oral delivery of medicines to the lungs has been around for as long as we have had inhalers, and bowls of ingredient-laden hot water and towels before then. The development of a vaping drug-delivery system was in full swing, but it has gone very quiet lately. Meanwhile, companies are offering up their products as miracle weigh-loss schemes or as a method to take vitamins.

We reported on Alsa Refinish, back at the beginning of 2014. It was a new start-up in California, staffed by leading academics who believed they could create a novel drug-delivery system to get medication into the furthest parts of the lungs as quickly as possible.

Ike Banoun, Alsa’s president, said: “Vaping the drug would deliver it directly to the smallest areas of the lungs via harmless vapour. Our patents cover vaporizing a wide array of drugs and herbal therapies. The hypodermic needle is 400 years old. It's time it came into the non-invasive electronic world. I bet it will be in the museums of the future.”

The passing years have not been kind. Rather than a range of boundary-pushing developments, the company has a “drug-free…lung cleanse kit”. The kit is the best way to keep your lungs clean, according to one customer review – defying thousands of years of human development.

It’s all a bit reminiscent of Vapor Diet, a company we reported on in 2015. The website is still owned by the company, but it is clear that it is no longer a working company. The owners were pushing “a diet program based on vaping nic-free flavours as a substitute for eating.” It was criticised by vapers and non-vapers alike for claims that the products had appeared on BBC and CNN and that the ingredients are “clinically proven”. The only program it would have featured on would have been Crimewatch.

Vampire Vape

One company we reported on that has managed to stay functioning is Vitacig, who sell cigalikes with added vitamins. They’ve been joined by the likes of VitaStik, who peddle a similar product but differentiate themselves by adding flowers, holistic herbs, essential oils, and a bucket-load of woo.

The company told Men’s Health that they were informing guests at an Oscars’ after-party to “inhale this vaporised formula of essential oils and vitamins, and you’ll feel calmer, more energized, more turned on.”

The VitaStik doctor was sending celebrities away vaping “ginseng, green coffee extract, grapefruit, lemon, and orange essential oils, 20 servings of Vitamin B12 (which regulates the production of red blood cells), and roughly one recommended daily dose of Vitamins A, C, D, E, coenzyme Q10, and collagen”.

Needless to say, this product is drawing its fair share of sceptical criticism too. There has been no research carried out into vaping vitamins. Indeed, given that they degrade with heating it is entirely possible that there is no benefit at all.

For the time being, it is probably safer to stick to vitamin tablets, inhalers and bowls of Friar’s Balsam.

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 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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