In a study conducted by the CDC and FDA, there has been a reported spike in lung-related injuries in people who use e-cigarettes, vapes, and other tobacco products. As if we needed any more problems to go along with the current pandemic. From past CDC studies, we can see that vaping and tobacco use comes with significant issues. However, in the first few months of the year, there was a spike in what the CDC calls e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).
What the CDC Knows
According to the CDC, there have been 2,807 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths as of February 2020. Along with the nicotine, THC, CBD, and other substances that can be found in vapes, the CDC believes that Vitamin E acetate is strongly linked to the recent EVALI outbreak because it was only found in the lung fluid of people of people who had it. “Vitamin E acetate usually does not cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. However, previous research suggests that when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung functioning,” the CDC says.
Their research also pointed out that there has been a decline in hospital visits related to vaping products since September 2019, but attributes that to different reasons like removal of Vitamin E acetate from some products, law enforcement and increased public awareness about the risks associated with vaping.
The CDC offers a list of other things they have learned about vaping, EVALI and the recent nationwide outbreak:
- E-cigarettes (vapes) work by heating a liquid to produce a substance that users inhale into their lungs.
- Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive—most notably in THC-containing vaping products.
- As of February 2020, the median age of deceased patients was 49.5 years and ranged from 15-75 years.
- As of February 2020, the median age of hospital patients was 24 years and ranged from 13–85 years.
- As of January 2020, 66% of hospitalized patients were male.
What the CDC Recommends
Here are a few things that the CDC recommends in order to reduce the number of lung-related illnesses nationwide:
- People should not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping products from informal sources like friends, family, or dealers.
- Vitamin E acetate should not be added to any vaping products.
- People should not add any other substances not intended by the manufacturer to products, including products purchased through retail establishments.
- Adults using nicotine-containing products as an alternative to cigarettes should not go back to smoking; they should weigh all available information and consider using FDA-approved smoking medication.
- E-cigarette or vaping products (nicotine or THC-containing) should never be used by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using vaping products.