The CDC have released ‘breakthrough’ findings regarding the cases of vaping related lung disease in the US. Since the outbreak in mid-September, the CDC, FDA and other government agencies have been investigating the cause, and have now released their initial findings.
The investigation has identified vitamin E acetate in the lung fluid of all 29 lung samples taken. Dr Anne Schuchet, Principle deputy director of the US CDC, has explained;
"These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs,”
This is the first direct link between the substance and the vaping related illness, with Schuchet describing vitamin E acetate as ‘a very strong culprit of concern’.
Vitamin E acetate is safe when used in a vitamin pill or topical treatment, however when inhaled, the oil droplets formed can be extremely harmful and can build up in the lungs. When explaining the nature of vitamin E acetate, medical officer James Pirkle, of the CDC's Environmental Health Laboratory, said; "Vitamin E acetate is enormously sticky, you can think of it just like honey."
In these instances, the oil has been used in the production of dangerous THC e-liquids as a thickening agent. THC is derived from the cannabis plant, and is the active element that gets people 'high'. Although cannabis is legal in some US states, it is still illegal in many of the home states of the patients who have fallen ill, and the e-liquids that have been identified have been primarily purchased through the black market, meaning they have not been appropriately tested and could contain a concoction of harmful chemicals.
85% of the patients who have been treated admitted to using THC e-liquids or pods, and tests have found THC in the lung tissue of most, including some of the people who had denied using them. The patients who have been taken ill are spread across 10 states, making it highly unlikely that a single product or supplier is responsible.
Fantastic news for vapers!
One thing that has become abundantly clear is that the illness is not as a result of using the standard nicotine-containing, flavoured e-liquids that are used by millions. In fact, only 16 of the 26 lung samples that were tested actually had any nicotine detectable, implying that many of the vapers were not using e-cigarettes for their intended purpose at all.
This is fantastic news for the millions of vapers worldwide who have had to endure months of confusing fake news about the outbreak of lung disease in the US. The stories even prompted President Trump to consider a full vaping ban, putting the future of countless American e-cigarette users successful stop smoking attempts in jeopardy. The findings now mean that vapers can rest easy in the knowledge that they are pursuing a healthier lifestyle choice by continuing to use their e-cigarette in favour of smoking cigarettes.
Throughout the outbreak of lung disease in the US, there have been no associated cases in the UK, and health organisations such as Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have maintained their views on e-cigarettes and e-liquids as a safer alternative to smoking for use by adults. The important message to take away from this whole disaster is that only products that have been purchased from reputable retailers should be used, and vapers should not to use any products claiming to contain THC.