The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the majority – 77 percent – of the people affected by the vape-linked pulmonary illness used products containing both THC and nicotine but they still have not figured out the compound in the vape products that is causing the sickness.
The agency found that 16 percent of affected patients used only nicotine-containing products while 36 percent used just THC-containing products. In an analysis of data from Wisconsin and Illinois, the CDC found that “nearly all” cannabis vape products linked to patients were obtained from “friends, family members, illicit dealers, or off the street.” Wisconsin does not allow adult cannabis use or sales, while Illinois passed legalization legislation earlier this year but the infrastructure is not yet in place for legal sales.
“CDC is committed to finding out what is causing this outbreak of lung injury and death among individuals using vaping products. We continue to work with FDA and state partners to protect the nation from this serious health threat.” — Robert R. Redfield, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement.
So far, the CDC has confirmed 805 cases of vape-linked pulmonary illness in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with 12 deaths. The median age of patients is 23-year-old and about 62 percent of the patients are 18 to 34-year-old.
In New York, the Health Department linked Vitamin E acetate to the illnesses in the state after nearly all of the vape products linked to the illness tested by the agency showed “very high” levels of the compound. New York does allow vapeable cannabis products as part of its medical cannabis program but the agency did not find Vitamin E acetate in any of the legal vape products.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a four-month ban on all vape product sales in the state that applies to both nicotine and legal cannabis products.
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