The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention debunked the notion that EVALI is linked to vaping legal nicotine products.
EVALI is a newly identified lung disease related to vaping. The acronym stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury.
The CDC has concluded that the outbreak of the dangerous disease is related to illegal THC and not legal vapes.
Due to numerous reports citing the risks of vaping and its effects on lung health, many medical professionals are still skeptical. It should also be noted that vaping has not been around as long as smoking, so its long-term effects are yet to be seen. However, initial research results give reason for optimism.
Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health, was the first to raise awareness of these results. He vented his frustration with CDC’s so-called major breakthrough on his blog page. Dr. Siegel explained that research suggests that the consumption of vitamin E acetate oil is the likely culprit for the outbreak of EVALI.
The CDC’s research was in line with these findings.
The testing included analyzing lung tissue samples from 29 case patients, all of which were found to contain vitamin E acetate oil. Patients were from 10 different states, so location is not a factor associated with the outbreak but rather a common cause.
The issue that skews the results is that some people are hesitant to report vaping THC. For instance, three patients whose lung tissue samples showed a presence of vitamin E acetate didn’t report using THC but rather regular nicotine-containing products.
It’s estimated that about 11% of patients did not report vaping THC oils, so researchers are well aware that EVALI patients may be withholding information.
It’s no surprise that people are less inclined to report using illegal substances. This has been confirmed not only by the CDC report but also in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Another reason people may not report using THC vapes is being unaware of the product’s contents. In order to stay safe, it’s best to purchase products from verified suppliers and always inspect the labels and packaging.
The risks of developing symptoms of EVALI increase when products are purchased on the black market or through third parties. The CDC revealed that the culprit for the EVALI outbreak was found in illicit THC vaping cartridges purchased on the black market.
If you are not sure of the origin or the contents of the products you are using, keep an eye out for symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, and weight loss.
So what does the future hold?
Dr. Michael Siegel suggested that all THC liquids should be tested for vitamin E acetate.
In addition, attempts should be made to address the stigma around vaping and EVALI. While e-cigarettes may be as unpopular in the minds of some as regular cigarettes, there is no more justification for promoting the association of nicotine vaping and the disease outbreak.
It’s also worth noting that a study published by JAMA Network Open revealed that there were fewer EVALI occurrences in the US states where marijuana products are legalized. In other words, recreational users in those states didn’t need to seek illegal pathways to obtain THC products.
Similar data found in the journal Addiction linked the lower occurrence of EVALI with the availability of legal marijuana markets.
The message is clear; vaping does not cause EVALI. Vitamin E acetate oil found in illegal THC vapes does.