CDC finally confirms: ZERO nicotine-based e-cigs linked to ‘vaping-related’ illness


On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was forced to admit publicly that zero nicotine-based vapes can be linked to the “vaping-related” lung disorder of this past summer.  Public health experts like Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University have been very critical of the agency’s mishandling of the associated messaging campaign, calling its public warnings to avoid all vapor products “intentionally vague.” 

The truth always comes out eventually, Siegel foretold, and the real culprit– THC-enhanced cartridges – should have been made crystal clear in the early days of the mysterious outbreak to avoid an escalating death toll. Siegel was right on both counts.  Today, each of the 50 states is now reporting at least one patient with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use–associated lung injury (EVALI), and the CDC has confirmed at least 25 EVALI-related deaths across 25 states

Dank Vapes is linked to over half of all EVALI diagnoses

According to the recent CDC press release, approximately 56 percent of all patients in the country suffering from the EVALI lung disorders reported using a Dank Vapes product within the prior three months of being diagnosed.   The TKO, Smart Cart, and Rove brands were also popular products liked to the respiratory scandal coming in at 15 percent, 13 percent, and 12 percent respectively.  In total, over 150 THC-containing vapor products were identified in the CDC probe, but not a single FDA-regulated nicotine-based e-cig made the list.

“Nationally, Dank Vapes were the most commonly reported THC-containing product by hospitalized EVALI patients, but a wide variety of products were reported, with regional differences. Data suggest the outbreak might have peaked in mid-September.”

Related Article:  Former CDC official: Agency’s refusal to warn of ‘THC vaping’ likely contributed to rising death toll

The CDC report also suggests that they outbreak of respiratory injuries seems to have peaked in mid-September, but it is still warning all vapers to avoid cartridges containing THC, “especially those acquired from informal sources like friends, family members, or in-person or online dealers." While some in mainstream media are now reporting that vitamin E acetate used in the thickening of THC-containing e-liquids is responsible for the ailment, the CDC is not ready to make that singular determination.

“Although it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, many substances and product sources are being investigated, and there might be more than one cause. Therefore, while the investigation continues, persons should consider refraining from the use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.”

The CDC warning seems appropriate, especially since the EVALI outbreak is so widespread and so many THC vapor products have been identified in the investigation.  Consumers should not be lured into a false sense of security simply because they do not use Dank Vapes products.  The CDC even specifically warns vaper sin the Northeast and Western parts of the United States to also avoid the following list of THC- inclusive vaping brands.

 “Other products” included 146 unique products. Dabwood and Brass Knuckles were reported by 10% of patients in the Northeast and West regions. Off White, Moon Rocks, Chronic Carts, Mario Carts, Cereal Carts, Runtz, Dr. Zodiac, Eureka, Supreme G, and CaliPlug were reported by 1%–5% of patients nationwide. Use of 134 other products were reported by <1% of hospitalized patients.”

This press release is good news for the nicotine-based vapor industry, but the rising death toll is nothing to celebrate.  People are dying, and this might have been preventable.  Furthermore, the negative news coverage of the generically labeled “vaping-related illness” continues, and several state governments are still actively seeking to ban all vapor products including nicotine vapes. 

Related Article:  Siegel on vaping-linked lung news: Why is CDC ‘protecting marijuana drug cartel?’

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