E-cigarettes and vaping have become popular, but there has been a rapid rise in the number of vape-related illnesses and deaths over the last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps track of how many people have been harmed. As of this month, more than 2,000 people have been treated for vape-related lung disease, and over 40 people have died in the United States.
Federal regulatory and health experts have been working diligently to discover what is causing these lung diseases and deaths. The CDC and other regulatory agencies have begun to establish a link between these illnesses with THC-containing products.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC have not identified one compound or ingredient that has been causing the problem, but they have said that THC is present in most of the samples tested to date, and most patients reported using THC-containing products. Their findings strongly suggest that THC vape products obtained off the street or from other informal sources (friends, family, dealers, etc.).
In particular, the CDC has announced that vitamin E acetate is a chemical of concern with e-cigarette products. Recent CDC lab tests of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples in 29 patients with vape-related lung disease from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all samples.
The CDC has officially recommended that nobody use e-cigarettes or vaping products that contain THC.
However, the public should not take this as an “all clear” to use other e-cigarette products. Many studies now suggest that e-cigarettes are not as safe as many people believed. Once touted as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, vape products contain many of the same chemicals and carcinogens that are present in tobacco products.
Initially, patients report gradual symptoms associated with vape-related illnesses. These can include:
While many patients recover from these symptoms, some suffer permanent damage. There have been some cases of complete lung failure. Recently, a 17-year-old victim of vape-related lung disease underwent a double lung transplant.
According to Juul, the most popular brand of e-cigarettes, each vape pod contains as much nicotine as 20 traditional cigarettes. Many people, particularly younger adults and teens, consume an entire pod in one setting. Nicotine can have detrimental effects on the development of younger children’s brains. Juul specifically uses a form of nicotine salts that more effectively and quickly delivers nicotine into the bloodstream, making addiction much more likely.
The FDA has yet to approve any e-cigarette product. E-cigarette companies have until mid-2020 to submit their products for testing and approval, but they are allowed to continue selling them until then. There have been discussions at the state and federal level of an outright ban on e-cigarette and vaping products, but that has yet to come to fruition.
There are no long-term studies on the health impacts of e-cigarettes. We do not know for sure that they are safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, but we do know that more and more people are becoming ill and dying after using them. Whether THC and vitamin E acetate are the culprits of every injury and death has yet to be determined, but that is unlikely.
If you or a love one is facing serious injuries after using vaping products and are unsure what to do, contact a local injury attorney in Indianapolis. Fountain Law Firm will do a free case evaluation and give you your legal options. Contact us online or give us a call 24/7 at (317) 917-7873 or toll free (888) 242-4878.
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