On Friday, November 8, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that they may have identified what has been behind the rash of vaping illnesses that have been happening all across the country: vitamin E acetate. So far this year, over 2,000 people have become sick and 40 people have died from the vaping illness. In reaction to the outbreak, Washington governor Jay Inslee banned flavored vape juice in October.
The CDC tested lung fluid samples from 29 victims of the vaping illness, including two who had died. Vitamin E acetate was found in all 29 samples. Vitamin E acetate is often used in supplements and facial creams, but it should never be inhaled as it can seriously interfere with lung function.
The CDC also tested the 29 samples for plant oils, medium-chain triglyceride oils, and petroleum distillates, but none of these substances were found in the samples. The CDC is still advising that people stop vaping immediately as “it is possible that more than one compound or ingredient could be a cause of lung injury, and evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out the contribution of other toxicants to” the vaping illnesses.
Who Uses Vitamin E Acetate?
According to an article on the cannabis website Leafly, Vitamin E acetate first began appearing in black-market vaping pens in late 2018. Used as an agent to cut or dilute THC, it became extremely popular with counterfeit or street-market pens and cartridges. In states where recreational or medical marijuana usage is not legal, there is a huge black-market THC industry, with millions of dollars being spent on the unregulated products.
Washington's Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), which regulates the marijuana industry in the state, called on all pot businesses to stop selling any cartridges that contain any vitamin E acetate. It is a voluntary ban. A spokesperson for the LCB did not say if any state manufacturers were using vitamin E acetate in their products.
The LCB explained that this voluntary ban was part of Inslee's earlier ban on flavored vape juices because he had also directed an additional ban of any contaminates if authorities found one. The Washington Department of Health and the LCB will decide if they should also put a mandatory ban on vitamin E acetate.
Drug Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
While marijuana possession of an ounce or less is legal in Washington, you can still get yourself into trouble if you don't follow the strict regulations regarding cannabis usage. Whether you are a resident of the Evergreen state or were visiting—if you find yourself facing charges for violating marijuana possession laws, attorney Steve Karimi can help. Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today at 206-621-8777 or fill out a contact form.