INSIGHT: BEYOND THE HEADLINES
What’s Really Going On With the Lung Illness Outbreak?
According to former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb “This is a THC issue, but if states are going to legalize a substance (THC / Marijuana), the FDA should probably develop the ability to make sure they are safe – as they have with e-liquids.”
As of Tuesday, Sept. 10, the CDC has reported up to 450 cases in 33 states of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome possibly associated with a recently inhaled ILLEGAL drug aerosol (through a personal vaporizer). As many as six patients may have died from the condition. The deaths occurred in Illinois, Oregon, Indiana, California, Minnesota, and Kansas.
Should I Stop Vaping?
• If you own illicit vape cartridges, throw them away immediately. The CDC, FDA, and HHS advised consumers Thursday to avoid buying cannabis vapes or using products purchased off the street. They are ILLEGAL, unregulated, untested, and could be contaminated.
• If you purchase an illicit market disposable vaporizer cartridge—either THC or nicotine—and it’s filled with the wrong additive at the wrong amount, and under unsanitary conditions, using it carries the risk of immediately injuring your lungs.
Up to six patients may have died as a result of tainted, ILLEGAL cartridges.
• More broadly, the American Medical Association said Monday to stop vaping any e-cigarette. And Tuesday, President Trump mulled bans on flavorings in legal e-cigarettes - we are diametrically opposed to these statements and proposed actions!!
Here’s What You Need to Know:
IF YOU ARE PURCHASING AND USING ONLY VAPOR PRODUCTS SOLD
HERE, YOU ARE AT EXTREMELY LOW RISK OF CONSUMING ILLEGAL
WHAT IS SOLD HERE IS HEAVILY SCREENED AND
TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE IS REGISTERED
WITH THE FDA.
What Is the Suspected Diagnosis?
In many cases, symptoms and treatment mirror a condition called lipoid pneumonia, previously found in patients who inhaled mineral oil - in these cases, being attributed to the inhalation of vitamin E acetate or MCT oil.
Symptoms include: coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and, general symptoms like extreme fatigue or fever are also warning signs.
So What Is Causing All of the People to Get Sick?
We don’t know for certain, but New York health authorities have confirmed that synthetic vitamin E oil (tocopheryl or vitamin E acetate) is tainting most seized THC carts in that state. Pen makers report using it because it’s a cheap thickener.
The FDA is now specifically looking at forms of vitamin E oil. New York has
subpoenaed three thickener-makers—Floraplex, Honey Cut, and Pure Diluent
—after tests showed all three products were vitamin E acetate as part of its investigation.
The FDA has received about 120 samples for testing. So far, they’ve found vitamin E acetate in 10 of the 18 THC samples. The FDA is testing seized carts for THC, nicotine, cutting agents called diluents, additives, pesticides, opioids, poisons, and toxins.
Health officials have confirmed that among the tainted carts are ones with the brand names Chronic Carts, Dank Vapes, and West Coast Carts, but the condition is linked to multiple illicit market brands across multiple states.
According to Anne Griffith, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Respiratory and Critical Care Specialists in Minneapolis, MN: “....agreed that evidence from her center continues to suggest vaping THC oil, which is often purchased over the internet, is playing a key role in the illnesses.”
INSIGHT: BEYOND THE HEADLINES
Why Is This Happening Now?
Leafly, world’s largest cannabis information resource, has reported that a new ingredient—next-generation cutting agents (thickeners)—are being misused in THC vape carts.
Legal chemical thickener-makers said they do not approve of use in vape carts. Thickener makers also do not approve of dilutions greater than 10%. However, their websites are unclear about the products’ approved and unapproved uses.
The thickener-makers have no information on what inhaling thickener aerosol does to your lungs, especially if it is heated or burned.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Danger to the public from purchasing regulated, FDA-registered vapor products from reliable retailers such as the members of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) is minimal, if not non-existent. SFATA members take great strides to ensure the quality of their products, and only purchase from reputable facilities across the United States they have diligently researched.
The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association encourages the media,
the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Trump
Administration to respond to this outbreak in a logical and factual
manner. Furthermore, we request that each of these institutions place
the best interest of public health over sensationalized headlines and
political gain, so we can continue our work to reduce the number of
smoking-related deaths in America and across the globe.
Special thanks to Leafly, which published a similar story on
September 6th and updated it on September 11th.
Thanks as well to the Arizona Smoke-Free Business Alliance
for their assistance in this informational piece.