A new recently released study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) finally confirms some of their earlier suspicions: Vitamin E acetate is closely related with EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury)
A new clinical study took samples from 51 EVALI patients, which were compared to 99 different healthy people. The study revealed that Vitamin E Acetate in Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids was present in 48 of 51 of the EVALI patients. Meanwhile, all 99 control group subjects did not have traces of BAL fluid in them.
Vitamin E acetate is used to dilute the liquid in e-cigarettes and vaping products that contained Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in marijuana responsible for its psychological effects. Oddly enough, Vitamin E isn't harmful when ingested or topically applied, but previous research has shown that it inflicts harm when inhaled. With the new study from the CDC, the previous study seems to be confirmed at this point.
As of December 17, there have been reported 2506 cases of EVALI injuries across all the U.S. States, Washington D.C., and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There have been a confirmed 52 deaths from all these cases, and more cases are under investigation.
EVALI related sickness is quite concerning as the majority of them are from young males. CDC's data reveals that 67% of the patients were male, with 78% being under 35 years old.
Of the 2506 cases, 1782 of these had complete information on the type of e-cigarette or vaping products they used in the previous three months. 80% reported smoking products with THC, with 35% exclusively smoking such products. 54% reported smoking products with nicotine, with 13% exclusively smoking such products. 40% reported smoking both THC and nicotine products, while 5% reported smoking non-THC, nicotine, or CBD containing products.
Four brands seem to stand out from those who smoked products containing THC. Patients smoked Dank Vapes (56%), TKO (15%), Smart Cart (13%), and Rove (12%). The CDC also states that there were some regional differences in the products used.
The vaping and e-cigarette related epidemics have caught the attention of federal and state authorities. Several states have restricted or outright banned the sale of these products and other associated items. The CDC has also released new guidelines for doctors on what advice they should give to patients inflicted with EVALI injuries.
The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.)A has also started cleaning up internet retailers selling illegal THC vaping cartridges. The agency has seized 44 different websites, shutting down their production and sales. The agency has been investigating the supply chain logistics of these websites, but have been unable to offer evidence directly correlating the EVALI outbreak with the cartridges. However, with the new study published, that may soon change soon enough.
The CDC and FDA are still recommending users to stay away from e-cigarettes and vaping products, as the creation of their cartridges are still unregulated, and in-depth and widespread studies relating to their short term and long term usage have only been started.