The CDC has removed the warning against vaping nicotine products from its website. The agency made the switch this week, as reported cases of lung damage associated with electronic cigarettes or vaping (EVALI) slow and evidence indicates that THC cartridges containing vitamin E acetate are the main cause of disease rash and death. Last year.
The new direction of the CDC
The CDC has changed its warning to the general recommendation against vaping nicotine e-cigarettes it made last September, as the epidemic reached its peak. The agency still warns that young people, pregnant women and the elderly should refrain from vaping nicotine, while advising people not to vaporize THC cartridges.
The agency made the change to reflect the evidence uncovered as to the causes of the outbreak. Data collected from a majority of hospitalized EVALI patients (2022, to be exact) showed that:
- 82% used vaping products containing only THC
- 52% used THC and nicotine vaping products
- 14% used products containing only nicotine
The evidence speaks
Vitamin E acetate had been suspect since the start of the epidemic. There was not enough evidence, at first, to conclusively link the cutting agent to diseases, but the more cases appeared, a pattern began to emerge.
The agency now says vitamin E is “strongly related” to the majority of injured patients. A study carried out last year found that:
- 48 of 51 EVALI patients had detectable levels of vitamin E in their lung fluid
The CDC also found that a majority of injured patients obtained their THC cartridges from “informal sources,” which the agency classified as “family / friends, dealers, online, or other sources.”
Data released this week showed that:
- 78% of affected patients purchased vaping products only from informal sources
- 94% of affected patients aged 13 to 17 purchased vaping products from informal sources
These “informal sources” were the subject of a crackdown by law enforcement agencies from the FDA and the Drug Enforcement Agency, which seized and closed 44 suspicious sites last December. The sites were, according to an FDA press release, “announcing the sale of illicit vaping cartridges.” None of the sites, however, were directly linked to contaminated THC cartridges.
The end of the epidemic?
With the root cause identified, the CDC says new reported cases of EVALI are down since its peak in September. The agency attributes several factors to the decline, including:
- Public awareness
- The elimination of vitamin E acetate as an additive
- Law enforcement action against suspicious suppliers
Even though vitamin E has been identified as the main culprit, the agency still warns that there could be other, as yet unidentified, chemicals that have contributed to the crisis. He always recommends that non-vapers or smokers not to start either. He also said anyone looking to quit smoking should use FDA-approved smoking cessation products, rather than using e-cigarettes.