Vaping Illnesses Could Link To Vitamin E Oil

As health officials keep working to pin down the cause of more than 200 US lung illnesses believed to be tied to vaping, some authorities have said that an oil derived from Vitamin E could be the culprit.

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Vaping Illnesses
Vaping Illnesses

As health officials keep working to pin down the cause of more than 200 US lung illnesses believed to be tied to vaping, some authorities have said that an oil derived from Vitamin E could be the culprit.

This week, New York health officials announced that among the 34 lung illnesses investigated by the state as related to vaping, a common factor seems to be the presence of Vitamin E acetate, a.k.a. Vitamin E oil, in homemade THC cartridges used by the patients.

In a statement, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said on Thursday that the acetate was present in “nearly all cannabis-containing samples” the state tested and in “very high levels,” making it “a key focus” of the state’s investigation. According to Zucker, the oil was not found in nicotine-based vape products that investigators tested, and it is not an approved additive for medical cannabis products. 

The Washington Post also reported this week that officials at the Food and Drug Administration had detected Vitamin E acetate in cannabis-based products that were used by patients in other states.

Vitamin E is a common supplement found in many health and beauty products, and can be safely eaten or applied to the skin in oil form. When vaped, however, Vitamin E acetate can pose known health risks, as by coating the lungs and leading to lipoid pneumonia.

As NBC News reported, Vitamin E acetate has previously been linked to lipoid pneumonia—first in 2000, and then again in 2012, in both cases relating to homemade cannabis cartridges—which had initially perplexed doctors before other causes were ruled out.

In response to the recent rash of vaping-related lung illnesses, the CDC has advised vape-users to avoid using modified products or ones of unknown origin.

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