A professor of community health sciences takes issue with the way the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is handling the illnesses that have been connected with vaping.

“The CDC is basically trying to pin this entire outbreak of severe respiratory diseases on electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Michael Siegel with Boston University’s School of Public Health. “The truth is that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, they’ve been associated, not with electronic cigarettes, but with illegal cannabis vape carts, THC containing vape carts.”

Siegel wants to see the CDC take the real problem seriously.

“I think that there’s a danger that with giving such a generalized message, that nobody’s really going to take it seriously,” said Siegel. “It almost undermines the information that people need to know about the dangers of using black-market THC vape cartridges.”

Siegel is clear that usage of vape products for their intended purpose of smoking cessation is not what has been happening in the cases of lung problems that have been reported.

“If you are vaping an electronic cigarette, which is a nicotine-containing e-liquid, that is basically safe,” said Siegel. “There are no severe, acute health effects that have been identified. If you’re vaping a THC oil that’s been manufactured by, essentially, illegal drug dealers and hasn’t been inspected, completely unregulated, then you’re literally taking your life into your own hands.”

Siegel believes the CDC should be clear that vaping oil-based products is what’s dangerous, especially if they are bought on the street.