Vape Crisis ‘Breakthrough’: CDC Exposes Vitamin E Acetate as the Likely Cause of Vape-Linked Lung Illnesses

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Vape Crisis


Medical researchers’ long-held investigate suspicions are finally confirmed. The U.S CDC has recently discovered vitamin E acetate in some patients’ lung fluids. The surprise announcement was made public on November 8th by officials of the Federal health department. In the wake of this, researchers had just detected the culprit, vitamin E acetate, in 29 patients’ lung fluids. These were confirmed victims of the outbreak of lung injuries that were widely associated with vaping.

Indeed, this discovery is considered a major breakthrough as it exposes the vape cartridge additive as the most likely cause of this epidemic. It is instructive that multiple agencies in the public and clinical health sectors in the U.S have long been investigating the intriguing vape-related ailments.

The phenomenon has been known as lung injury associated with product-use, e-cigarette, or vaping. It first hit the headlines of the national press in early September. Among the investigative agencies involved is the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thickening Agent

According to the CDC’s startling announcement, the data collected showed that 86% of the 867 patients who affected admitted to using products of the THC in the three months preceding the start of the symptoms. This became clearly evident by October 15th.

Further analysis of samples of the product containing THC exposed the existence of additives deemed to be potentially harmful. This includes the medium-chain triglyceride or MCT oil and vitamin E acetate, which are principally used in THC products as a thickening agent.

According to the big announcement, the clinical teams caring for the patients carefully collected fluid samples of the BAL (Bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar). Subsequently, samples from 29 patients in several states were submitted to the CDC. The CDC developed and authenticated the methods of testing to analyze the BAL fluid-active substances and primarily targeted samples. The samples were acquired from public health laboratories from the States of Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Hawaii, Connecticut, Maryland, Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California. The result is that fluid samples in all 29 BAL samples were found to contain traces of Vitamin E acetate. Further, 23 of these fluid samples, researchers detected either THC or THC metabolites. Nicotine metabolites found in 16 samples, according to the CDC.

Clear Evidence

 According to the CDC, this discovery gives the most definitive evidence of the presence of vitamin E acetate among EVALI patients at the main site of injury. The findings are consistent with the FDA as well as media reports from the state public health laboratory as they documented traces of Vitamin E acetate in EVALI patient samples. Interestingly, other additives and diluents under study were not detected in EVALI patients’ BAL fluid specimens. These include petroleum distillates, plant oils, diluent terpenes, and MTC oil.

The CDC said that more studies are needed to establish whether a causal link exists between such exposure to vitamin E acetate and the reported lung injuries. A comparison would also be made involving BAL fluid samples taken from healthy people and studies carried out on animals.

Besides, the CDC added that the data results from 29 patients unmistakably proved the association between vitamin E acetate and EVALI. However, it is possible that a few other ingredients or compounds might also be responsible for lung injury. It is considered too early to rule out a link between other toxicants and EVALI.

Vape Puzzle

The Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF), which is a key industry stakeholder, considers the bog discovery as a significant step in efforts to resolve the vape epidemic puzzle. In a public statement, the CTF said that it applauded the CDC and federal state health officials for the progress made in the efforts to discover the cause or causes of the outbreak of lung-related illnesses linked with the use of vaporizers. The CTF urged officials in states that have already legalized cannabis for adult or medical use to review these laws.

In CTF’s opinion, it is crucial to ensure that vitamin E is expressly prohibited in inhalable or cannabis products. The CTF added that, while it seems that such health incidents are mainly linked with the illicit use of THC vape products, members of the regulated industry are urged to consider reviewing their vaping products to rid them of vitamin E acetate.

Court Lifts Ban

It said that the recent breakthroughs and discoveries in the current health crisis simply emphasize the significance of the state cannabis regulations. Besides, it also demonstrates the need for strict control of cannabis at the state and federal levels.

It was noted that some states had already banned vape products while others had initiated measures for tight regulation of vapes and their additives. For instance, Colorado state has banned MCT oil, vitamin E, and polyethylene glycol or PEG. Washington and Oregon states have adopted emergency rules prohibiting the commercialization of flavored vape products.

Although a court had ruled that the ban on medical cannabis vapes must be suspended earlier this week, Massachusetts States had already put in place the legal mechanisms for restriction of all vape products. Other states are yet to respond to the vape crisis.

Black Market Agents

According to Michael Elias, the CEO of Michigan Pure Med and Common Citizen, the big announcement by the CDC significantly demonstrates the need for states like Michigan to urgently crackdown on black-market agents who engage in the sale of dangerous, untested products, in the name of offering medical solutions.

In a public statement, the CEO said that more than sixty deaths and 2,00 vaping related injuries resulted from deadly substances found in illicit vape products. He described this as illustrative of the need for stricter enforcement of the illegal cannabis market, saying that the situation was unacceptable.

For a long time, vitamin E acetate has been suspected to be behind the massive outbreak of lung injuries linked to vaping. However, in its announcement, the CDC said that many questions on the subject remain unanswered.

In the meantime, the CDC has ruled that vitamin E acetate should be removed from vaping products until its link with the well-being of the lung is better understood.


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