New evidence shows illegal, off-brand THC vaping products aren’t the only products to blame for the current outbreak of lung illnesses. Now, legitimate THC vapes have also been implicated in the epidemic. There have also been reports of illnesses in those who only used nicotine vaping products. Major health groups, including the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association, are urging consumers to avoid all vape products until more is known.
In the latest reports on the incidents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 80 percent of hospitalized patients with e-cigarette, or vaping, associated lung injury (EVALI) had used a THC product. There are now nearly 2,300 Americans suffering from the illness and 48 people have died. Illnesses have now been reported in all 50 states and Washington, DC. According to the CDC, the majority of the afflicted are young, male and white, with the average patient’s age falling at 24.
The CDC’s new report shows that more than half (56 percent) of those who came down with EVALI used black market THC e-cigarettes branded Dank Vapes. The next most commonly reported brands were TKO at 15 percent, Smart Cart at 13 percent, and Rove at 12 percent. Some patients said they only vaped nicotine, not THC.
Since the EVALI outbreak began, multiple problematic ingredients have been examined as the potential cause. A strong culprit is vitamin E acetate, which is considered a highly ‘sticky’ oil for the way it sticks in the lungs. While vitamin E acetate is perfectly safe to use on the skin in lotions and creams, it is not considered safe to inhale.
Other culprits could be toxic metals leached from the devices into the e-liquids or a degradation of the ingredients in e-liquids once they’re aerosolized. There may also be other contaminants that the investigators don’t know about yet because the products are so new. The CDC is recommending avoiding all vape pens and products at this time.