Vaping Illnesses Are Linked to Vitamin E Acetate, C.D.C. Says

Samples of lung fluid from patients with the mysterious illness led to a breakthrough in finding a possible cause. More than 2,000 people have been sickened, many from illicit marijuana-based products.

Comments: 146

  1. So is Vitamin E acetate in all vape pens or just THC PENS or just those bootlegged and not purchased at a regulated dealer? I have used vape pens that I bought at a store in Las Vegas. Having smoked pot for 40 years or so I can say it looks nice but is not the same . Never felt the high you get from a joint. I also had at times coughing fits . Especially one time when I felt as if my lungs froze in place for a second and I could not breathe in or out. We used maybe 5 cartridges over time. I no longer buy them nor do I have an interest. Another product from Philip Morris and the Merchants of death.

  2. @Donald it's just in Bootleg thc carts and Bootleg juul pods (ie mango). Since this whole fear mongering started most people in the nic vaping crowd knew that this was the issue. Our gov here in NY refused to listen. Honestly thc carts aren't that great. Your are better off vaping dry herb or waxes.

  3. @Donald Those various “merchants of death” (a nice phrase, by the way) are taking advantage of the fact that some people need to put exogenous substances into their brains. Last year, here in the US, nearly half a million people died of tobacco-related dideases. Perhaps additional neuroscience research can put an end to this senseless slaughter.

  4. @Donald I don't buy vape pens, I just use pure extracts with a dabbing rig. Vape pens are a con, even in legal states. They cost twice as much, at least, and have more waste. Easier to just buy some good hydrocarbon extract and dab it with a bong and a heated coil, or on a pinch, a blowtorch heated nail.

  5. For an article on a public health concern there really does need to be more clarity on exactly which products contain the contaminant. For instance, do any commercially marketed products contain vitamin E acetate? Is it exclusive to THC pens? The article isn't clear on this point at all, only noting that "many" black market products contain it. Also, apparently 14 percent of the afflicted claim to not have vaped THC at all, so is it more widespread than just THC products?

  6. @MC There was a small study that examined legal vapes for medical marijuana and none of them contained vitamin E acetate. It is very important for sufferers from cancer, chronic pain, MS and other illnesses to know they can go to a legal marijuana dispensary and get relief for their pain--and not get a vaping illness. Sure, THC vapes on the street are cheaper, but go to a licensed marijuana dispensary!

  7. @MC Give the scientists, public health staff & reporters a break! This is breaking news afterall. And as for Vit E in other products - which may not be the same at Vit-E acetate (I certainly don't know), we are talking about inhaling not swallowing, and inhaling at elevated temperatures.

  8. @MC "Also, apparently 14 percent of the afflicted claim to not have vaped THC at all, so is it more widespread than just THC products?" The key word is "claim". It's an illegal product, so people aren't going to be as forthcoming about using it... especially teens.

  9. Something e-cigarette users have been saying since the beginning. E-cigarettes have been widely used for more than a decade; a sudden rise in vaping illnesses is clearly NOT "caused by e-cigarette vaping"; it was clear to anyone willing to pay attention that this came from the black market, not from commercial e-cigarette products. BTW, this is not an attack on THC vapes - this is, if anything, evidence of the need to legalization. People turn to the black market because there is no other option for them.

  10. @VB: Cigarettes can take decades to cause horrific damage to lungs. Ten years is nothing. Especially when most people who vape are relatively new to it. This is real cause for alarm. Anyone who thinks it's safe to heat up a bunch of random chemicals and inhale the vaporized component into their lungs on a regular basis are delusions. I love the small of campfire smoke (and it's organic!) but I'm not dumb enough to think I could inhale it regularly every day without it impacting my body.

  11. @VB The hysteria about "e-cigarettes" is ridiculous. Of course, the cause is related to illegal or counterfeit vaping whether related to THC or not it's the street stuff that is killing people or putting them in hospitals. Jumping on the bandwagon of course is the anti-smoking contingent.

  12. There continues to be a lack of distinction between those who vaped materials off the street and those who used materials from recognized manufacturers. Furthermore, I've seen little discussion of the possibility that some who claim not to have vaped marijuana are hiding their use of a substance that remains illegal in many areas, or would bring down the wrath of their parents. This has, I think, created a certain amount of hysteria, which, in some localities, has led to the removal of vaping products from shelves while a tobacco product known to be lethal and almost certainly far more dangerous than e cigarettes continues to be sold. That said, the remedy for tainted THC would seem to be legalization and regulation.

  13. @Josh Hill Amen to this. You hit the nail on the head for this issue.

  14. @Josh Hill: Well, recognized manufacturers produce, market and sell cigarettes that are quite deadly, so...

  15. @Josh Hill regarding those "who claim not to have vaped marijuana," the WaPo reports: "CDC officials found vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from the vitamin, in all 29 samples of lung fluid collected from patients who had fallen ill or died of lung injuries. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, was also found in 23 patients, including three who said they had not used THC products."

  16. What took them so long? I know CDC has to be careful, but there was a sense or urgency from the first illnesses and vitamin A acetate was an obvious suspect from way back then. I suspect that changing the solvent to adjust the consistency/viscosity of the mixture in the THC vapor pens will completely solve this issue, but I'm skeptical that CDC will see the urgency in this. What gives? Are we going back to reefer madness? We need to get real with issues of public health and not allow prejudice to dictate how things are done.

  17. @SierramanCA what took so long is that is still currently illegal at the federal level to do medical research on products containing THC. If you do research on THC substances you will get you r lab all of it's federal funding and grants removed forever and possibly be blacklisted by the government from working on any projects again which involve government funding, which is a lot in the academic and medical worlds. We couldn't see it coming when it's illegal to open your eyes.

  18. After months of media hysteria and draconian legislation insinuating this so-called epidemic was caused by nicotine vaping the CDC finally breaks down and tells the truth that we vapers have known for some time; it has NOTHING to do with nicotine vaping. A lot of illness & suffering could have been averted if the media, the government & Public Health officials weren't so obsessed with demonizing a product that has been incredibly successful in helping smokers quit cigarettes.

  19. But then, how would the cigarette companies keep their profits high? And states are hurting when their cigarette tax revenues drop due to the switch to e-cigs... like, what's going to backfill that number?

  20. So, remove vit E acetate and vaping will be without problem and safe as can be? Gosh, why didn't cigarette companies think of this angle. Oh, wait...

  21. @DKM So vape marijuana or tobacco "herb", not "oil", and you don't have to worry about what's in it. Maybe I got more from Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" than most people, but I make my own sausage, so if I wanted THC, I'd vape the weed.

  22. @Sonder Maybe also use the right (?) tools? Vaping pens weren't designed for pot, as Edward Allen, below, points out.

  23. Thanks to all the doctors and researchers who are examining this issue. SCIENCE does good... again... (Right-wing heads just exploded). Let etiology and epidemiology do their work, and let’s stop with the ill-informed, knee jerk, drug-hysteria reactions. Also, looking at the distribution map of this issue that covers the entire USA, it seems that legalization and strict regulations of marijuana and THC products are in order. What’s certain is that we don’t need a “Reefer Madness” redux.

  24. Vape pens are not the ideal way to vaporize cannabis. Before it was a dance craze, dabbing referred to the act of taking pure hydrocarbon extracted cannabis and vaporizing it using a heated crucible connected to a bong. And yes, a dab will do ya. Vaping pens were designed for nicotine, not cannabis. A device designed for cannabis, ideally, just heats up pure THC extract. This means you need to reload it with sticky and difficult to work with material every five or six hits. That's fine because that's all you need!

  25. @Edward Allen Dude.. in the old days, before legalized and lab tested MMJ products entered the public consumer base... concentrates used on dabs contained all manner of possible dangerous toxins... from insecticides used on the plants, to mold spores, to other chemical adulterants like fertilizers, etc. At least today.. in California... you can go to any licensed and registered MMJ shop and buy any MMJ product and know that it was in fact lab tested to be free of adulterants or toxins. That said, it would be naive to state that fully legalizing MMJ products across the nation would prevent this, because there can and will always be bootleggers on the street selling questionable product at prices that undercut store prices.... and there are consumers that will throw caution to the wind and just buy and use it.

  26. Of course it is. It ALWAYS was this... Unregulated, black market THC cartridges with toxic additives. Period. But this newspaper, and the entire media writ large, happily engaged in what can only be described as a months long public health hysteria. A disinformation campaign of propagandist levels I have never seen before. Claiming week after week that scientists and medical professionals did not know what the cause was...suggesting that hundreds of thousands of nicotine vapers were at risk of dropping dead.... A complete and utter farce. Why? To engage in fear mongering the entire vaping industry. Vilifying and stoking unfounded fears among their users and customers. So they can further push regulations to ban and control the behavior of Americans and their access to nicotine. The nanny-state enamored media lapdogs thought they were going to take home Pulitzer prizes breaking open a scandal and cover up on some high level. But in reality they kept the truth hidden away to continue to build a story based on false pretenses. This entire episode is so, so revealing on how information and policy is presented to the American public. I truly hope people understand and deeply question any and all of the assumptions being peddled by media outlets to attract clicks, eyeballs and perpetuate salacious headlines . I continue to be disappointed that the NY Times of all places has made this their modus operandi.

  27. @F. Jozef K. And what? Now that everyone knows that it is the black market vapes that are causing people to get sick and die, they are going to stop using them. Or shame on them if they don’t.

  28. @F. Jozef K. It's the tree hugging mentality that is to blame.

  29. Agreed. When it comes to e-cigs made by reputable companies and used by adults, The NYT spent months pushing a remake of "Reefer Madness." However, I note that Juul is now marketing lower strength e-cigs, which may help people to stop vaping. E-cigs sold in Britain contain much less nicotine than those sold in the US.

  30. Thank God, the vaping witch hunt is hopefully over

  31. Why doesn’t the headline read “Vaping Deaths and Illness....”? The public needs to know that vaping THC products poses a very, very serious health threat. A deadly serious health threat, we could accurately say.

  32. Gee, it’s almost as if these products in high demand were not forced into an idiotic unregulated black market, this wouldn’t have happened. It’s almost as if the federal government’s moratorium on THC research is to blame. It’s almost as if we have a government run by incompetents for the benefit of special interests and the expense of the people and especially their health and wellbeing. I don’t know why I keen saying ‘almost’ when all of this is beyond obvious.

  33. @Andy - Nah. Nothing was "forced into an idiotic unregulated black market." That happens regardless of government regulation and the availability of legal/regulated/safe products. That "black market" is just entrepreneurial spirit. Research and regulate all you want. An underground market will still exist even with strict laws and severe punishment.

  34. This seems a bit simplistic. Simply finding the Vit. E acetate at the scene of the crime does not necessarily prove that it is the cause of the problem. Perhaps it is, and perhaps likely it is, but the comments I’m reading make it seems like people are assuming it’s a slam dunk when it is at this point only an association. I’m aware that this article is a super brief report on a difficult problem, and perhaps there’s a lot more information that’s already known that wasn’t reported in this article, however it seems that a fair amount of additional research needs to be done before this substance can be definitively blamed as the cause of the problem.

  35. This seemed like a contrived ‘crisis’ from the get-go. The UK is set to be completely free from smoking by 2030, largely due to E-Cigs, and they’ve never experienced any ‘public health crisis’ akin to what we are witnessing in the US (due to isolated production of off-market vape products). In fact, vape stores even adjoin some hospitals in the UK, to further deter traditional cigarette smoking. What is even more astounding is that this is considered a ‘public health crisis’ in the first place, when over 480,000 Americans die from smoking related causes per year.

  36. @Connor Thank you for adding a voice of reason!

  37. Probably this epidemic would never have happened if THC products were available everywhere and so cheap that no blackmarket was created. People out to make a quick buck are likely to casually choose the wrong dilutant. Opiod deaths are highly similar, usually caused by either fentanyl addition or unexpectedly strong heroin.This epidemic is likely mostly over. Future bootleg vapes will use less lethal extenders. We can often minimize particular public health disasters, needle exchange programs minimize HIV transmission. Freely available drugs minimize fentanyl deaths. The problem is typically that different people have different goals, some hoping to eliminate drug use by eliminating needle exchange.

  38. So. Smoking vaporized vitamin E causes immediate lung damage. No one should believe that inhaling vaporized nicotine and all of the other chemicals in e cigarettes is safe. It may take ten years or so for the damage to be evident. Lungs are not designed to be resistant to this type of exposure. Damage from cigarettes took longer than that to be clear and we all know the truth of that now. We are awaiting a real health crisis.

  39. @Sam "All the other chemicals in e cigarettes". Any idea what they might be or are you just speculating? You see: nicotine solutions are actually much more chemically simple than tobacco smoke. Scientists have actually tested them believe it or not. There are over 7000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, over 250 are harmful, and at least 69 cause cancer. Compared to only one identified cancer-causing nasty detected in nicotine solution vapour (and only sometimes): formaldehyde.

  40. @Sam Seems that regularly smoking just about anything is a leading cause of cardio-pulmonary disease. Take-away? Don't smoke anything, period.

  41. A useful study which will be followed by more studies about this issue. Prudent people would not vape, being concerned about the chemicals entering their lungs and ending up in their bloodstream. For those posting here and skeptical about the dangers or stating that this is a made-up crisis, I hope they are not in a position to influence children.

  42. @blgreenie Generalizing from a few incidents with illicit marijuana based products to include nicotine e cigarettes made by major manufacturers makes no sense whatsoever. Saying that is very different than saying that children shouldn't be discouraged from using an addictive product with unknown long-term health effects!

  43. Is it just I who has zero sympathy (and/or concern) about those suffering from a bad vape? In this era of so many demands and stresses on our over-extended health system, I have no time for self-inflicted illnesses . . .

  44. @PS It is not just you. The world is full of self-righteous people who have an abundance of judgment and no empathy for fellow human beings with addiction problems. That is until they or a loved one ends up getting one.

  45. @PS when so many of the injured victims are children (teens) and when the offending companies are targeting middle schoolers, then the “they decided to use it, so I have no sympathy” argument does not fly.

  46. I’m hoping it’s just you PS because the issues, that we should be blaming unscrupulous corporations and negligent government oversight for, are directly impacting children. We should all care.

  47. What is the incidence of pulmonary toxicity in other countries, or is this another case like opioids where the users in rust belt areas are actually to blame?

  48. @Darrel Lauren The UK has fully embraced vaping as a means to reduce cigarette smoking and they are not having this issue. The issue is from shady black market THC products.

  49. Why would it be necessary to inflict this suffering and inevitable death in animals when the substance(s) in question, e.g. vitamin E acetate, is clearly dangerous to lung tissue?

  50. It sounds like this is something that legalization and regulation could help to prevent. Why aren’t we doing that? It seems like an inevitability at this point that legalization will occur in the next decade or so. So why are we prolonging this public health crisis?

  51. Are we ethically justified to do animal experiments about a substance we use for pleasure and has not medicinal value whatsoever? It is not like we testing a substance on animals that has the potential to save millions of lives. I am absolutely sure that it would not be ethical to subject an animal to Vitamin E so young people can vape.

  52. @SridharC I think it is absolutely essential that this gets tested in animals. Without animal testing it would be very difficult to prove that it was Vitamine E exposure alone that caused this illness. The ethics of animal testing is very complicated, perhaps especially so in this case. This type of experiment can cause a great deal of suffering if not planned carefully.

  53. @Steve This type of animal testing will cause a great deal of suffering, regardless.

  54. Vapers have been saying this for months!! Yet this headline didn’t sell as much as your Juuling child will end up in the hospital. Shame on the NYT and other publications who ruined small vaping business in MA and elsewhere and forced vapers back to cigarettes.

  55. Your lungs are meant to breath air. Not anything else. Simple.

  56. Hmmmmmm..... the folks with this problem share certain characteristics: 70% are male, 79% are younger than 35, 86% have vaped THC. Another key factor: 100% are stupid.

  57. Took WAY too long for the CDC to formally confirm this. They in point of fact leaked it as "probably" many weeks ago. I admire the CDC.. but they have to get better at being faster when there is an actual crisis in hand. No surprise about this either. Vitamin E acetate, if you think about it would be an ideal adulterant to cut THC with in order to sell less for more.. and the inept bootleggers when questioned about pruity would simply say.... "the only thing we add is some vitamins to the product to improve it". NOW.. law enforcement... go find the criminals that are selling black market products cut with a vitamin oil that can be fatal if vaped and inhaled. By the way... to folks who are unaware, it has been somewhat of an underground thing in recent years to "vape vitamins".. claiming that they are better and more effective when doing so. /eyeroll.... stupid consumers

  58. Gosh. Maybe now the CDC can figure out what it is in cigarettes that kills 450,000 Americans every year.

  59. Folks, vape the flower. It's the way God intended.

  60. Can everybody lay off Juul now? Though it’s too late for me in SF at least until Juul gets FDA approval.

  61. No. Click on the Vaping Illness Tracker (the map in this article.) Of patients who are ill from vaping nicotine, JUUL is the most commonly named supplier.

  62. Is there a good reason why these devices are not illegal? In some places they're banning menthol versions of these smokes but the fact is that all of it is deleterious to your health. This junk can kill you pretty quickly. You're better off smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes take 30-40 years to kill you.

  63. @MIKEinNYC Maybe because "these devices" delivering nicotine have been found in British and European testing to be up to 95% safer than cigarettes? Maybe because nothing like this current crisis has happened among nicotine vapers anywhere else in the world? So maybe it really is related to Vitamin E Acetate and/or other adulterants in black market THC products? Remember that the 84% of those afflicted are just those who admitted to vaping THC, and it is probable that much if not all of the remaining 16% weren't being truthful? Maybe even in cannabis legal states there is still a black market for THC cartridges that are way less expensive than the tested and approved products.

  64. @MIKEinNYC Cigarettes are absolutely not safer. No honest scientist or researcher would say that, and the UK has fully embraced vaping to eliminate smoking cigs and they are doing just fine.

  65. Guy at the government weed store told me to stay away from ve over a year ago. And vapes werent even legal here then.... So if he knows hoq didnt anyone else know.

  66. We’ve been here before. In 1903, America read The Jungle. 1906 brought us the Pure Food and Drug Act. Elixir sulfanilamide poisoned kids in 1937. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 was next. In 1976, the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device injured at least 900,000 women. Congress added the Medical Device Amendments to the FD&C Act. I could continue... . Here, we have vitamin E inhaled and causing disease, confirmed, traceable to adulterated vaping cartridges [devices]. Kudos to those acting to Protect the Public Health. Now what? Congress MUST Act. Amend the Act to Legalize and Regulate marijuana [they can fix other items on Schedule 1, too]. Act to Protect the Public Health.

  67. Vape hysteria is same old same old. (1) Purity Requirments: No Harm Reduction. No needle exchanges or methadone maintenance programs for addicts: cold turkey way or the highway. Sugary soft drinks bad? Diet versions just as bad. Cigarettes bad? Vaping worse. Banned in San Francisco, where cigarettes are still sold. (2) Anything adolescents do without adult permission or supervision is bad. OMG they’re vaping! When I was in college a pediatrician in town wrote an article in the local paper on the dangers of ’maxi-coats’ then fashionable among the young—ankle-length winter coats which were a very practical proposition where my college was, north of Chicago. Girls wearing them, he argued, could trip over the hems. For heavens sake, puritans, let us be! I’m sick of puritans who carry water bottles at all times for perpetual hydration condemning me for drinking diet soda. I’m outraged that, because of the puritan purge, Juul has discontinued Creme Brûlée, my favorite flavor. Leave us alone, puritans: go flagellate yourselves.

  68. @H. E. Baber It isn't a Puritan purge; it's a health initiative. It's to keep kids off vaping. World of difference.

  69. Scientific literacy is important-- how the NYT got away with the fear-mongering for MONTHS is beyond me. Anyone with an ounce of logic should know that vaping nicotine would not have suddenly led to acute cases of illness. Especially given that there were no patterns indicating longterm users were more at risk (If I had to hazard a guess, I'd suspect an opposite correlation, since long term users may have more brand loyalty to traditional venders). This has ALWAYS been about bootleg THC carts, and ALWAYS about the Vitamin E. Meanwhile, in NYC, already struggling bodegas are facing declining sales due to the restrictions set in place too hastily. A longer article needs to be published explaining NYTs journalistic decisions here.

  70. @Eyerolling Good idea; same with many other papers. In all these new reports, I see nothing of any correction. It's left to us to figure out, and it's a bit confusing. There were hints in the earlier reports that the illness was mostly with people vaping marijuana, but it was mainly an alert about vaping. Then suddenly a main cause is found, and it's only this thing coming from illicit use. But there is no "Hold up, it doesn't seem to be vaping per se, after all." Although as others have noted, we don't know the long-term effects of that, either.

  71. Sue the people who forced you to use contaminated products off the street by making the products illegal. What if it was milk? Would people still buy it (and take their chances) if some religious hooey declared milk illegal?

  72. People buy non-pasteurized and also human breast milk on the black market so, yes, people buy milk that is illegal.

  73. The big mistake will be: oh good they're otherwise safe. Not so much. Among other things they raise your risk of stroke and heart attack: Then there are the long term risks. No one knows what they are. But inhaling a potent mix of ultrafine particles, known carcinogens not safe at any level, and heavy metals is almost certainly a problem long term. The recent e-cigarette deaths are obvious. The less obvious deaths happen every day.

  74. @Jon From the article you cited: "However, because this is survey data, it cannot draw a direct cause-and-effect relationship between vaping and stroke or heart attack, Ndunda added. "This study has some limitations that do not allow us to make very firm conclusions and be able to change policy around e-cigarettes. I would look at this as a call for larger and longer studies into this issue," Ndunda said. Goldstein, a spokesman for the American Stroke Association, agreed. "In studies of this type, it's a common problem with all of them, is that the adjustment for potential confounders is limited," Goldstein said. "They adjust it for age, sex, smoking status, diabetes and body mass index, but there are obviously other factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease that weren't measured." Gregory Conley is president of the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit that advocates for sensible regulation of vaping products. He took issue with the new findings. "Nearly all regular adult users of vaping products are current smokers or ex-smokers," Conley said. "It is not exactly breaking news that [tobacco] smokers are at a far higher risk of suffering serious medical conditions, and that it takes years for some risks to subside once a smoker has quit.""

  75. E-cigarettes and vape devices only find support from those who want to continue their addiction to nicotine, those who want to get high without notice and those folks in the vaping industry- the rest of us could care less. As a former smoker of many years (quit through one session of hypnotherapy), all you are doing is exchanging one set of poisons for another. Get help with quitting, rather than using the lame excuse that e-cigarettes are better for you, so that justifies continuing and smoke cannabis the natural way (yeah, I know, can't sneak around town getting high in public- bummer). You are lining other people's pockets while damaging your health, which you will need later in life, when all the serious health threats really become a concern. Haven't you noticed that nicotine smokers/vapers are beyond uncool? Lonely, standing out in the rain/cold, just to feed their addiction? Pathetic.

  76. @John E. Most of the nicotine vapers I know have already tried all of the approved methods of quitting - without success. Many of them are also reducing the amount of nicotine they use. Meanwhile patches gum and lozenges have been approved for indefinite use as a source of nicotine.

  77. @John E. You realize that the UK is having much more success reducing smoking by embracing vaping right? And that the #1 most dangerous carcinogen from smoking is tar, which you get a hefty dose of when you smoke marijuana the "natural way". Your bad advice is uncool, not the people trying to quit cigs via vaping.

  78. Meanwhile, while the CDC and the media were slogging along toward this "revelation" and scaring the living daylights out of people who use unadulterated Juuls, etc., I see people smoking cigarettes all over the place again. I even asked a young man the other night, as he was standing outside smoking a cigarette with a friend, if he had switched back (or simply to) cigarettes because he was now afraid of Juuls. He thought it was a "strange question" (really?!), but confirmed that he had. Great, right? Another good reason to make it easy and legal (with the same restrictions as those on alcohol) to buy cannabis flower, which can also be vaped (no combustion) using a device like a Pax or something.

  79. So typical of Trump to hedge restrictions on Vaping products because “it has created a lot of jobs”. Vaping - like Trump - has got to go.

  80. Duh. Vape cartridges are a high margin item and easier to ship. “Legitimate” packaging (usually replicas of tested brands from legal states) fool most customers into believing it’s the same thing. Legalize federally and Allowing interstate commerce between legal states would do wonders in taking bootlegs off the market.

  81. If you’re vaping to try to quit cigarettes you don’t vape that often and don’t inhale that much. They’re really not that pleasurable

  82. I think vaping is very pleasurable!

  83. @Ellen F. Dobson That wasn't true for me. I was vaping almost constantly before I quit. I liked it more than smoking.

  84. "Nicotine has not been exonerated, either.." Anyone care to make a bet that nicotine or any vit acetate will not be the only problems here?

  85. @Mark Shyres Nicotine is more addictive than dangerous, and the issues only cropped up from these black market THC pens with Vitamin E acetate, somy guess is no.

  86. "Researchers do not know exactly how it harms the lungs, but studies in animals are being considered to help explain that, Dr. Schuchat said." And once again, animals will be paying with their lives for the stupidity of humans. What a shame.

  87. I've followed this story a bit over the months. What's clear is the American media does more harm than good. It makes me sad to say that. The American media is addicted to outrage and hysteria bait and it's killing our country.

  88. Glad they are on it. Now can we please provide as intense research and outcry to guns? That is a lot bigger problem, and much easier to solve.

  89. Curiously, the article focuses on THC products with no mention of vaping illnesses related to nicotine products, even though USA today ran a piece a few hours ago on the CDC moving to investigate nicotine related vaping illness.

  90. @Ed Watters Possibly because nicotine vapers around the world aren't having problems. Just all of a sudden in the US.

  91. From the article: “Nicotine has not been exonerated, either. Some patients say they vaped only nicotine, and state health officials consider some of those reports reliable, Dr. Schuchat said.”

  92. Ed Watters, USA Today is flat out wrong. Check the CDC site.

  93. Vape at your own risk. If you get it off the street you are asking for trouble.

  94. “She said there were anecdotal reports, not yet fully investigated, of patients who said they had bought THC from licensed dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal.”

  95. The FDA got shamefully behind on vaping and e-cigarettes, especially as they were marketed to young people. And is now playing catch-up. A physician MD

  96. There is a huge black market in counterfeit THC based vaping cartridges. Empty cartridges preprinted with fake branding information, strain type and percentage THC that imitate the look of quality products that are available in legal states are available by the thousands online. These are then filled with who-knows-what and are sold on the street as the real thing not the counterfit it is. This problem is way bigger than the CDC imagines. I can’t believe it took this long to come out with a definitive statement

  97. What is sticking is how we can see a society and scientists at work --dealing with a problem, investigating a cause. And then, we come to the incompetents in charge and the laughing-stock of an "administration." Vape shows "might somehow" be exempted. The minimum age to by might be "21 or so" and this industry created a "lot of jobs." What a true disaster, not just the Vitamin E acetate, but our administration and our bureaucrats!

  98. There has been a large scale study commissioned by the UK health services that concluded that vaping nic is considerably safer than cigarettes. To my knowledge, in the USA, we have chosen to go the route of moral panic rather than actual science, and have not funded a study. A vaporizer is a delivery mechanism. If your city has a heroin problem do they make syringes illegal? No, of course not. I understand that people are anxious to see tobacco (and nic) out of our of society. I get that. I was hooked at age 13 thanks to the cig machine in the local arcade. Is this where I insert a sarcastic "Thanks, Boomers"? This whole thing about banning nic vaping is fairly absurd if you consider that tobacco is still being sold. If nicotine is the true enemy, ban all forms of it. Make it only available online or something. Make access difficult. But don't hold my Sub-ohm vape to a different standard than tobacco. Treat then both the same. Make all forms of nicotine hard to access. I am waiting to see if anyone has the will to do that. Most likely not. The people dying from "vaping" never made sense. Many of us have been vaping for 5-10 years. Vape juice is a vg/pg blend with food grade flavoring. That's it. The fact that folks discovered that you can dilute shatter with special vg opened up the weed world. This brought in drug dealers who generally are amoral and will cut their stuff with whatever. Just legalize pot, regulate it, and people will stop dying.

  99. @Dave C -- just a footnote, Mr. Millennial: cigarettes were around long before Boomers came into the world. You can't blame everything on us.

  100. I couldn't have said it better, Dave C! I totally agree with you.

  101. “Vitamin E acetate is sticky, like honey, and clings to lung tissue, the C.D.C. said. Researchers do not know exactly how it harms the lungs, but studies in animals are being considered to help explain that, Dr. Schuchat said.” Once again, animals are going to be sacrificed for our wants. We’re animals, too - just do the tests on our species. The manufacturers of these products already are, in a sense. So study the vapers who already put this stuff in their body, not the sacrificial lambs, so to speak, who will never vape a day in their lives until we force them to.

  102. @Miriam Yes, we already know sticky crud doesn't belong in our lungs. We don't need to torture animals to find out exactly why.

  103. I use the dank vapes and I'm fine.

  104. @kevin It's not a consistent "brand name" just a label bought off the net. Consider that you dodged a bullet.

  105. You are whistling past your possible graveyard. And Illinois has legal, regulated herb. Despite some counterfeiting of legit products, the safest bet is to buy legal dispensary products from a legal dispensary.

  106. Well, many others ended-up in ICU on ECMO, or dead. Count yourself lucky.

  107. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the first of the public health laws intended to fight poisonous substances in the marketplace (a triumph of progressive government legislation - thanks TR!). The burden of proof for new products must be on the manufacturer and seller. It is criminal that 100 years later, we still have companies who think that they can sell a mysterious chemical stew heated in an electric cauldron to a gullible public -- a recipe for disaster. I suspect we will be hearing more news soon about long-term damage from poisonous chemical exposure when vaping tobacco, so don't think it is just about THC.

  108. @Dennis Mancl "vaping tobacco" is a misunderstanding of what vaping is. E-cigs and vapes are not heating any tobacco plant material. Companies weren't responsible for the sickness and death, shady drug dealers were. The article makes clear that the worry is about Vitamin E acetate, not THC. Nobody dies from THC.

  109. NICKLE ALLERGY might be a contributing factor in the fatalities. ( google "nickel allergy" ) Nickle is a heavy metal. Some of the metallic parts of the vaping devices are nickel or contain nickel. About 15% of the population has some degree of an allergy to nickel. (This is why some people develop dark rings around their fingers if they wear a ring containing nickel.) In addition to causing contact dermatitis, when nickel is heated to a high temperature and the surrounding air is inhaled, it can cause pneumonia. This pneumonia develops slowly and is nearly irreversible. Patients come into an ER with problems breathing, and are sent home with antibiotics. But with this nickel poisoning, the pneumonia worsens and they can die. This might be a part of the problem.

  110. @williamrrigby Outside of DIY, nickel is not really used. It's pretty much all steel.

  111. Vaping = 40 dead this year. Gun violence = 40,000 dead this year. Vaping is a serious health issue addressed even by the president. Death by firearms is a staggering epidemic and is such an ingrained part of the culture that it can't even garner a health care headline. Apologies for the subject switch, but context for the vaping crisis can be enlightening.

  112. @Ralph Braseth, et al., Valid point. The common root-cause is our American attitude towards "Regulation." Long campaigns against regulation of any business has become one of the qualifiers of being considered conservative or liberal. Hence it has become a political, instead of a public health issue. The "Pure Food and Drug Act" (C.1906) has driven business executives crazy as they seek to bypass the law and some administrations have weakened the agency responsible for enforcement. Just like Prohibition failed campaigns against all kinds of intoxicants put these products into the control of criminal enterprises and beyond the reach of any government agency. Some humans will always want to become intoxicated regardless of the law. We can, and should legalize and regulate these substances. At the same time we need to re-establish the first clause of the Second Amendment and require that all armed people must be under the jurisdiction of the civil authorities complete with screening, evaluation, training, qualification, along with drills and regular inspections and inventories of private arsenals. Regulation is not a bad thing, unless your business is about defrauding/harming the public.

  113. The American Medical Association and the the American Public Health Association have been framing gun violence as a public health crisis for years. Our government actively works against health professionals to respond to the crisis through the 1996 Dickey Amendment which prevents the CDC from conducting any research that would support gun control. In 2016 over 100 medical organizations signed a letter to Congress asking them to lift the Dickey amendment. We, US citizens, are allowing a gun-happy greedy minority to manipulate us and prevent us from doing anything by how we vote. Make sure to vote. Not just for US president but in all the smaller elections that happen in your region. Those smaller/regional bills and amendments and local elected officials can impact larger change.

  114. @Ralph Braseth I'd also add use legal weed without the vaping junk. I understand it is available in several US states.

  115. It’s super simple: legalize and regulate. The deadly additive is being included in black market THC products. If it is legal, regulated, and at a competitive price point (like in many legal states), this entire health crisis would not have happened. The war on drugs failed. End prohibition and save lives.

  116. @DrBunk "...legalize and regulate..." It won't happen in the time of Trump.

  117. The determination of one of the chemicals involved in these fatalities is a great example of our government in action. The CDC is doing work that no other group would do, likely saving many lives through their work. For all those who object to regulation and government intervention, consider where we’d be without them protecting the public interest.

  118. @Leonard Levine Also, consider where we've been headed for the past (and continuing) 3 years with Trump's excessive kowtowing to his cronies who want regulations removed in order to fill their greedy coffers.

  119. There has not been one case of cartridges purchased at medical marijuana dispensaries implicated in this mess. However, we are not certain of the long term ramifications of vaping. NY state dispensaries offer many other alternatives to vaping. Marijuana is not physiologically addictive. People become psychologically dependent.

  120. “Although most cases of the vaping illness have been linked to illicit THC, Dr. Schuchat said that did not mean other vaping products could be considered safe. She said there were anecdotal reports, not yet fully investigated, of patients who said they had bought THC from licensed dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal.”

  121. Elementary school science: the condensation cycle. Vapor under the right conditions turns to liquid. When are we going to learn not to smoke, huff or vape non-prescription substances into our lungs?

  122. From a health perspective, prohibition of tobacco would be a lifesaver. Tobacco kills 1,500 Americans a DAY, and is the toughest addiction to conquer. It is NOT a habit. This will not happen, as there is too much lobbying money in the way and social security would have that many more live people to would take 20 years, then all the young healthy people would have replaced the addicted ones. Vaping is just a new delivery system. I take issue with the complaint against Cannabis, though. No one has ever died of Cannabis, and The prisons of the southern states are filled with nonviolent users and possessors while cigarettes are sold behind the counter of every convenient store. cannabis prohibition should have ended 50 years ago, while tobacco prohibition must begin now.

  123. I’m disturbed that we need to essentially torture and then to kill animals to support a common sense decision that we can implement right now. The ease with which we move to induce suffering in other intelligent creatures for the ‘benefit’ of humans remains deeply puzzling(full disclosure, years ago in graduate school, I engaged in research using rats and mice....don’t feel good about that). This is really quite simple. Ban Vitamin E acetate from vaping products or better yet, ban the production, importation and sale of all vaping products immediately. Vaping related illness will rapidly go to near zero overnight, and we won’t need to kill anything to achieve that end.

  124. But it won’t further our biological understanding of what happened. Sometimes animal use is necessary to understand the physiology of the disease/problem and find solutions. Not everything can boil down to ban it and don’t kill animals! There are boards that rule if the animal testing is ethically done and necessary. But better that than wait for more people to be sick/dead so we can test their lungs!

  125. @Solomon Rex What a tragically misinformed position. There is a huge demand for vaping products; banning them will lead to an even less regulated, less safe black market.

  126. My goodness, it looks like many commenters here didn’t read the article, didn’t read the whole thing, or can’t think it through very critically. So many comments that the article focuses on THC. The article hasn’t focused on THC, it’s only pointed out that the highest number of people affected vaped THC. That’s a fact, not a bias. The article also explains that some people affected only vaped nicotine products. Nor does the article state that all of these products were illicit. It specifically states that some of these products were bought through legal providers and some of these products came from large companies, not all from small dishonest shadowy drug dealers. However, investigators did discover that there are several “shadowy” dealers out there. But they didn’t actually say that accounts for all the incidents. People, read and think critically. The important thing here is not to stroke our egos and build evidence to support our biases. The important thing is to confirm exactly how people are getting sick so we can prevent more occurrences.

  127. @Referencegirl From the article: "The new report, based on samples taken from the lungs of 29 patients, including two who died, she said, “provided evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury in the lungs.”" "Makers of illicit vaping fluids sometimes add it as a thickener or to dilute the THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana, and increase their profits." "Samples of lung fluid from the 29 patients were also tested for plant oils, petroleum distillates like mineral oil and other potentially harmful substances. None were found, the C.D.C. said." I'm gonna hedge my bets that it's the Vitamin E Acetate. Especially because I find it compellingly plausible that some of the people who got sick would lie about having used an illegal product that could cost them both their job and freedom. The UK has a massive sample size of people using nicotine vape products without issue. The UK also lacks our patchwork marijuana laws. Legal THC vape pens, in California and Colorado for example, are expensive and in high demand. A perfect target for black market counterfeiters. Many of us are here in the comment section because nicotine e-cigs and vape products allowed us to stop using tobacco products. The evidence is clear that nicotine vape is significantly less harmful than combustible tobacco, and yet people across the country are moving to ban vape products while cigarettes remain.

  128. All this hysteria about the lethality of vaping. But cigarettes? On the CDC website, very clearly posted is the statistic that every day 1300 Americans die from cigarette-related illnesses. Yet, I can legally buy cigarettes at every gas station and probably from one in eight stores, across this land. Isn’t that ironic? By the way, vaping was the only way I was able to get off a 30-year cigarette habit (I tried *everything* from hypnosis to patches, gum to therapy, cold turkey to weaning; nothing worked except vaping).

  129. I have not heard of one case of a vaping injury in Europe. I've been vaping for almost three years. I was able to quit cigarettes for good. And anyone that says "nicotine is bad for you" should google nicotine. You will find out how many substances not related to cigarettes that contain nicotine.

  130. This - “But an aide to President Trump suggested earlier this week that vape shops might somehow be exempted from restrictions. And on Friday, he noted that the industry had created a lot of jobs.” AT THE EXPENSE OF LIVES! Vaping and cigarettes need to be removed from the market. Too many illnesses, and lives. I am so sick of hearing about the tobacco industry etc. It’s as bad as the OxyContin industry. Gee it created jobs. What?! Time for the USA to put an end to these industries of death!

  131. Who would’ve thought inhaling this chemical smoke could be bad for you? To be sure, these aren’t the most nimble minds among us who have taken up this habit. Difficult to find much sympathy. Oh, jumping off a bridge is also bad for you in case anyone was wondering Wow.

  132. Vaping causes death. It has been proven to destroy lung tissue at an extraordinary rate, especially while lungs are still forming, usually until the age of twenty five. Trump, when asked about banning the products said while catching his “chopper” that he will think about it - “there are a lot of jobs involved so we’ll see.” This is called “inhumane and irresponsible” behavior on the part of a president.

  133. 'Researchers do not know exactly how it harms the lungs, but studies in animals are being considered to help explain that' God no! This is a human problem. Don't cause even more harm by inflicting this on innocent, defenseless animals who have nothing to do with this.

  134. Pretty soon maybe people will figure out that it is a bad idea to deliberately inhale anything but clean fresh air.

  135. This brings to mind America's biggest mass poisoning, the Sulfa Elixir poisonings from tainted medicine in the early 1930s, which killed more than 100. The poison then was not the medicine, but an additive, a solvent used to dissolve it. Here it looks again like it might be an additive. But that would be hard to know from this sadly incomplete report of a preliminary finding. The reporter needs to fill in critical missing information: How many of the 29 patients sampled had vitamin E acetate in their lungs and how many did not? How many were using THC and how many weren't? How many of the vaping products used were "illicit," and does the problem exist in states where the products are legal? Etc.

  136. and when its all said and done, I've got $1000 its not vitamin E acetate. its just the glue. its the toxic combustion byproducts caused by basically walking into a forest on fire and gulping down as much air as you can, that are the actual root causes. like I say, its just what glues the toxins to the lung tissue not the root cause. print this opinion and save it for later. it aint rocket science, these researchers should know better. I'll be back to collect later.

  137. In The EU, I see lots of folks doing what appears to be vaping. Why are we not hearing of deaths worldwide, or is this problem limited to The US?

  138. Only 86% of the victims were Marijuana Plus Nicotine vapers, with the rest ONLY vaping nicotine? Is Big Tobacco pushing the THC "cause" to get the attention off of them?

  139. Leave the poor animals alone! Animals should not have to suffer torture and death just because a bunch of stupid humans CHOOSE to put unknown substances from unknown manufacturers in their lungs. It is actions like these that make me feel humans suck as a species.

  140. Torturing lab animals just so that people can safely smoke/vape/ingest drugs ought to be criminal.

  141. So trump is happy is “creates jobs” and we are going to test on animals. And we wonder why society is falling apart.

  142. I don't support raising the age of tobacco use to 21. Old enough to go to war but not old enough to vape or smoke? That makes no sense. Keeping the drinking age higher is reasonable because of negative externalities. Both soldiering and smoking are stupid but it's a (relatively) free country.

  143. People are getting sick and dying from vaping because marijuana is still illegal in most states and yet many people use it. This has created a huge black market for THC vaping products. With no federal oversight the black market has exploded. Vaping THC needs to be made legal nationwide so that it can be taxed and regulated for safety. Telling folks not to vape is naive and pointless at best. Zero tolerance polices never work.

  144. Stop "testing" (i.e. torturing) on animals. Find some other way.