The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday warned against using e-cigarettes, amid 450 potential cases of a mysterious lung ailment related to vaping, which has now claimed three lives.
“While the investigation is ongoing, the CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing lung disease,” said Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, a CDC incident manager. “We believe that a chemical exposure is likely associated with these illnesses, but more information is needed.”
The cause of the mysterious ailment is still unclear, but federal and New York state officials have found a possible link to products containing THC, a compound found in marijuana, which often also contain Vitamin E acetate, an oil that can be harmful if inhaled.
“No one substance or compound, including Vitamin E, has been identified in all samples tested,” said Mitch Zeller, the deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
Indiana health commissioner Kris Box warned Friday that the deadly products sometimes come from somewhere other than the commercial market.
“We know that these products typically contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and many cases report inhaling THC and other substances not available in commercial products,” Box said in a statement. “While it is unclear what substances are causing injury, when you use these products with other chemicals, you may not know everything that you’re inhaling and the harm it can cause.”
The New York State Department of Health said that Vitamin E acetate was found in marijuana-vaping products used by New Yorkers who contracted the mysterious illness in the past few weeks.
“Vitamin E acetate is not an approved additive for New York State Medical Marijuana Program-authorized vape products,” the Department said.