Health Care

Most cases of mysterious lung illness are linked to vaping THC — CDC

Most cases of mysterious lung illness are linked to vaping THC — CDC”

Being tasked with ensuring the health of the nation, it is no surprise that the CDC is in such a tizzy regarding e-cigarettes, since there is so much uncertainty in their use.

The first case in the US began in late March. Twelve deaths have been confirmed in 10 states. Of 771 patients that the CDC has collected age data on, 62 percent are between the ages of 18 to 34 years old, and 16 percent of patients are under the age of 18. Two in three of the cases were men.

Of the data the CDC has collected from 514 of the affected patients, nearly 77 percent reported vaping a THC-containing product (with 36 percent exclusively using THC).

Some adults have used vaping as a way to quit smoking regular cigarettes.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month found that more than half of lung illness patients extensively interviewed in Wisconsin and IL reported having used the "Dank Vapes" brand.

The spate of lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use or vaping suggests that THC products "play a role in the outbreak", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency said during their September 19 update that they still do not know what in e-cigarettes is causing the health problems, and they advised Americans to stop vaping as their investigation continues.

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We wholly agree with the governor's action, which we see as rightly focused on protecting children while continuing to monitor national trends and developments related to vaping.

The team of researchers at the CDC says that they would publish more data as they are gathered. Although the reported cases have not been attributed to any specific compound (or combination of compounds) as of yet, the high association with THC is very alarming. Thus, the CDC is strongly recommending never purchasing any e-cigarette product off the street or modifying any product outside of the intent of the manufacturers. Many patients have reported using THC and nicotine. The sales ban applies to all vaping devices and products, including those containing nicotine or cannabis. The CDC report from IL and Wisconsin also added that the THC containing cartridges for vaping were acquired from illegal dealers, off street vendors, friends and family members.

According to Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services, the person who died was over 65 years of age. A second MMWR report, focusing on Wisconsin and IL, had similar results on THC use and included more details about the cases in those states, such as demographics and the substances and product types used. "For example, whether particular solvents or adulterants are leading to lung injury. The illnesses we have been seeing are serious". The trouble that the CDC is finding, however, is that numerous users experiencing lung injuries are not fitting into the manufacturer's guidelines for suggested use. "The illness among interviewed patients was severe with almost 60% admitted to an intensive care unit". The products can contain nicotine, THC, cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances, according to the center.

In Illinois and Wisconsin, patients mentioned 87 different product names and many vaped more than one. Numerous people who got sick in IL and Wisconsin said they used prefilled THC cartridges sold in Dank Vapes packaging. Thus, it seems that the lung injuries associated with vaping are mostly impacting younger users.

The CDC did not release additional information beyond the new numbers. She added that the marketplace at present was dynamic and she wanted "families talk to their kids and people trying to get these products understand the potential risks".

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