The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has linked vitamin E acetate to the worrisome trend of vaping-associated pulmonary injury (VAPI) that has led to thousands of hospitalizations and dozens of deaths throughout the country, Leafly reports. The compound has emerged as a popular cutting agent for illicit cannabis vaporizer products made and sold on the unregulated markets.
“Recent CDC laboratory testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (or samples of fluid collected from the lungs) from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all of the BAL fluid samples. Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive in the production of e-cigarette, or vaping, products. This is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries.” — Excerpt from CDC website (emphasis included)
Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, confirmed the agency’s breakthrough during a Friday press briefing but said more tests will be necessary. “These new findings are significant,” Dr. Schuchat said. “We have a strong culprit.”
So far in 2019, at least 39 patients who were treated for VAPI have died, while more than 2,050 affected individuals — mostly young men — have been hospitalized. According to the CDC, symptoms of VAPI may develop over the course of just a few days to up to several weeks. Patients have reported the following primary symptoms:
- cough/shortness of breath
- chest pain
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
In September, the CDC disclosed that the vast majority of patients suffering from VAPI had used unregulated THC vaporizer products. The vitamin E compound was identified previously as a potential culprit and was found in unregulated cannabis vapes throughout New York. The compound, however, has not yet been identified in state-regulated cannabis market products — one dispensary in Seattle even tested the vaporizer products on its shelves for vitamin E acetate and found a 100 percent pass rate.