Lung injury timeline
In August of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they were investigating an outbreak of lung injuries. Over 2800 cases were identified, causing 68 deaths in the USA; in Canada there were 19 cases and no deaths. 76% of the patients were under 35 and 66% were male.
Injuries were isolated to North America
Vaping nicotine eliquid is a harm reduction strategy used by millions of smokers all over the world. Since the injuries only occurred in North America, it was clear the injuries were being caused by something other than standard nicotine eliquid.
Admitted illegal drug use
Almost 100% of the injured patients reported using illegal THC cartridges. Despite the evidence, the injury was named
EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping product use-Associated Lung Injury) implying the cause was nicotine eliquid.
Lung biopsies show vitamin E acetate
To identify the substance causing the injuries, lung samples from the patients were analyzed. The fat based substances identified as causing the injuries are not found in water based nicotine eliquid because they would separate in the container (oil and water).
Vaping products used were analyzed
The patients submitted the products they were vaping to help identify the cause of the injuries. Nicotine eliquids contained no unexpected or harmful chemicals but 9 out of 10 illegal THC carts contained vitamin E acetate which is used as a thinner.
Warnings from the FDA
The Food and Drug Administration issued warnings that were specific to the injuries. To best ensure the public can make informed decisions about safety, the more specific information about the dangers, the better.
Lung injuries declined rapidly
Word spread on the street that illegal THC cartridges were making people sick. Law enforcement busted several illegal THC cartridge makers and distributors. A legal thinning agent, ‘Honey Cut’ was removed from the market. The injuries declined.
EVALI vs control
Vaping habits of 66 vapers that suffered with the lung injury were compared to the vaping habits of 519 vapers that didn’t have the lung injuries. The injured vapers clearly showed a significant increase in THC vaping, illegal THC use and purchased the illegal brand that was associated with the lung injuries. This study further confirmed the safety of nicotine eliquid.
Law enforcement seizures
Confiscated illegal THC cartridges from 2018 and 2019 found that the vitamin E acetate that caused the injuries were detected in the 2019 cartridges. This shows that the causative agent was recently introduced to illegal THC cartridges.
Nicotine eliquid is proven safe
Illegal THC cartridges caused the death of 68 people. Smoking kills half a million Americans and over 45,000 Canadians every year. Vaping nicotine eliquid has only helped smokers quit and has killed no one.