Title: CDC Drops Warning Against Nicotine Vaping
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently made a significant announcement by dropping its warning against vaping nicotine products. This decision came as the reported cases of e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injuries (EVALI) have been decreasing, and new evidence points to THC cartridges laced with Vitamin E acetate as the main cause behind the outbreak of illnesses and deaths last year.
The CDC’s new focus is to adapt their original warning from a blanket recommendation against vaping nicotine e-cigarettes to a more informed and targeted approach. While the agency still urges caution for young people, pregnant women, and the elderly when it comes to nicotine vaping, it now also advises against vaping any THC cartridges.
This change in the CDC’s stance is based on the evidence uncovered during the investigation into the outbreak. Data from a majority of hospitalized EVALI patients showed that 82% used THC-only vaping products, 52% used THC and nicotine vaping products, and 14% used nicotine-only products.
From the beginning of the outbreak, suspicion fell on Vitamin E acetate as a possible culprit. Initially, there wasn’t enough evidence to conclusively link the cutting agent to the illnesses, but as more cases appeared, a pattern started to emerge. The CDC now strongly associates Vitamin E acetate with the majority of injured patients. A study conducted last year found detectable levels of Vitamin E in the lung fluid of 48 out of 51 EVALI patients.
Furthermore, the CDC discovered that a significant number of injured patients obtained their THC cartridges from informal sources such as friends, family, dealers, or online platforms. In fact, the data revealed that 78% of affected patients bought vaping products only from these informal sources, and 94% of affected patients between the ages of 13-17 obtained their products this way.
In response, law enforcement agencies have cracked down on suspect suppliers, shutting down 44 websites advertising the sale of illicit THC vaping cartridges. However, none of these sites were directly linked to tainted THC cartridges.
As the main cause of the outbreak has been identified, the CDC reports that new cases of EVALI being reported are declining since reaching their peak in September. Several factors have contributed to this decline, including increased public awareness, the removal of Vitamin E acetate as an additive, and law enforcement actions against suspect suppliers.
Despite Vitamin E acetate being identified as the main culprit, the CDC maintains that there may still be other unidentified chemicals that played a role in the crisis. Therefore, the agency continues to advise the general public, whether smokers or non-smokers, against starting vaping or smoking. For those looking to quit smoking, the CDC recommends the use of FDA-approved smoking cessation products rather than relying on e-cigarettes.
In conclusion, the CDC’s decision to drop the warning against nicotine vaping reflects the evolving understanding of the EVALI outbreak. With the decline in reported cases and the identified cause being Vitamin E acetate in THC cartridges obtained from informal sources, the agency emphasizes the importance of informed decision-making and the need for further research to ensure the safety of vaping products.