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THC additive may be linked to surge in vaping illnesses, CDC says
The New York Daily News - 11/8/2019
Nov. 9--An additive sometimes used in THC-based products could be linked to the recent surge in vaping illnesses in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
Lab results from 29 patients with lung injuries revealed the diluting agent vitamin E acetate in every sample and THC ? the main intoxicating component in marijuana ? in 82% of the samples tested, according to the CDC. Vitamin E acetate is sometime used to dilute THC oil in e-cigarettes.
Since March, more than 2,000 people who vape have reported lung-related illnesses, and at least 40 have died. The crisis has touched 49 states, pushed e-cig giant Juul to pull products and sent politicians into high-gear to legislate solutions.
On Friday, the CDC said it might have made a breakthrough.
"These new findings are significant," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, in a news briefing. "Because for the first time, we have detected a potential toxin of concern, vitamin E acetate, in biologic samples from patients with lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products."
Nicotine was also identified in 62% of the samples, which came from across the U.S., according to the CDC.
Vitamin E acetate also turns up in food and supplements, Schuchat said, but it's typically harmless when swallowed. Research indicates that when the additive is inhaled, it may hinder lung function, Schuchat added.
"It's important to note that these findings do not rule out other compounds or ingredients that may be causing these lung injuries," Schuchat said.
The CDC suggests people not use any vaping products containing THC.
Lawmakers in Albany listened Monday as local officials weighed in with their thoughts on the e-cig crisis, with some legislators raising the possibility of pulling vapes off shelves altogether.
Vaping is particularly popular among young men and teenage boys. More than 40% of high school students in New York City vape regularly, according to officials.
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