Wednesday, 13 November, 2019


‘Vaping illness’ definitively linked to Vitamin E in bootleg THC vapes

The U.S. will raise the legal age for vaping to 21 President Donald Trump said Friday The U.S. will raise the legal age for vaping to 21 President Donald Trump said Friday. AP
Patty Aguilar | 08 November, 2019, 23:24

Scientists may finally know what's behind vaping lung illnesses that have sickened more than 2,000 in the USA: a combination THC and an oil derived from vitamin E, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.

US health officials are reporting a breakthrough in their investigation into the cause of an outbreak of vaping illnesses. As the New York Times reports, the CDC says the finding is based on samples taken from the lungs of 29 of those sickened from vape use. No other concerning substances were found in the samples.

Since vaping was discovered to be a common thread in the spate of lung illnesses that have killed 40 people in the United States, scientists have been scrambling to discover the cause.

Doctors still don't know how to treat the illness that has been dubbed "EVAL" (short for 'e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury) beyond supportive therapy like putting patients on respirators and, perhaps, steroid treatment.

"This does not rule out other possible ingredients", Schuchat said.

But agency officials cautioned they can not rule out all other toxic substances, and it may take animal studies to clearly show vitamin E acetate causes the lung damage that's been seen.

82% of the samples included THC; 62% included nicotine. They quickly realized that vitamin E acetate was present in every single one of them. Vitamin E acetate has been highlighted as a huge concern by proponents of vaping for months, and once people began falling ill it seemed like the most likely culprit.

The latest samples were collected through a process in which fluid is pushed into the lungs and then collected for analysis.

"This is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries".

The oily substance had previously been linked to lung illnesses and is used in the making of many e-cigarette liquids.

The CDC's study was published today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Until more data is available, the agency advised vape users against using products containing vitamin E acetate as well as those containing THC, particularly if they're from "informal" sources.

Vapor Technology Association executive director Tony Abboud argues regulators must crack down on black market vaping products. It also recommends not buying any vaping product off the street and not making any modifications to a vaping device unless the manufacturer intends for it to be changed. So far, investigators have determined that most cases appear to be associated with the use of vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It's not known to cause harm when swallowed or applied to the skin, Schuchat said.

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