Vitamin E Acetate found in vape products deemed unhealthy

Vitamin E Acetate found in vape products is causing serious lung disease.

Vitamin E Acetate found in vape products is causing serious lung disease.

Dorela Ramadani, staff writer

The CDC, FDA, local health and state departments, and public health and clinical partners are investigating an outbreak of e-cigarettes and vaping associated illnesses. As of October 15, 2019, 86 percent of 867 EVALI, e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury, patients reported using THC containing products 3 months before the symptoms occurred. 

Vitamin E acetate is sometimes added to some THC vaping liquids to make them thicker or dilute them. Vitamin E acetate is in many foods, supplements, and cosmetic products but it is not safe to inhale. Dr. Shuchat says, “Vitamin E Acetate does not usually cause harm when swallowed as a vitamin supplement or applied topically to the skin. However, previous non-CDC research suggests that when Vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung function.”

Many of the THC products people reported using during the investigations were THC cartridges bought through the black market or informal sources. Vitamin E acetate has been used by illicit cannabis suppliers. Although vitamin E acetate was found in THC cartridges bought through the black market, cannabis vaping products from real sources, in some states, have not been checking for the presence of vitamin E acetate. 

A CDC Mortality and Morbidity weekly report revealed that the chemical was found in all samples tested, and THC was in 23 of 28 samples that were tested. There were other harmful things found in the samples, but these harmful chemicals were not found in all of the samples like the vitamin E acetate was. 

The investigation of these vaping illnesses and deaths are not over, and vitamin E acetate may not be the only culprit, but it is a very strong concern. Dr. Schuchat says, “It’s important to note that these findings do not rule out other possible compounds or ingredients that may be causing these lung injuries.”

The CDC strongly recommends to not use vaping products or e-cigarettes that have THC from informal sources such as friends, family, online dealers, or illicit markets. ‘We certainly have evidence that people should not use an e-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC, particularly those acquired from informal sources,” says Dr. Schuchat. The CDC still has a small portion of cases that report exposure only to nicotine-containing vaping products and e-cigarettes.