Electronic cigarettes, vapes, and other electronic nicotine delivery devices are facing scrutiny worldwide and investigations as regulators try to determine the harm they may or may not cause.
An advisory from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US released on Friday has revealed that vaping may not be as safe an alternative to tobacco as it was previously billed to be.
The CDC tested bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples from 29 victims of lung injury who also vaped. The victims came from 10 different states and in all of them the CDC found vitamin E acetate.
The chemical is found in vitamin supplements and skin creams and is perfectly safe in those applications. However, the CDC notes that when vitamin E acetate is inhaled “it may interfere with normal lung functioning”.
The chemical is using in the production of some vaping products as a thickening agent.
“This is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries. These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs,” the CDC wrote on its website.
There’s also the matter of vitamin E acetate resembling THC oil making it a tool for back-alley vape liquid makers trying to pull a fast one on users.
The CDC found that of the samples of vitamin E acetate it studied 82 percent contained THC while 62 percent contained nicotine.
As such the CDC has advised that folks refrain from using THC vaping products. Those using nicotine vapes should monitor themselves for symptoms of lung injury. A list of those symptoms can be found here.
“There is no safe tobacco product. All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, carry a risk,” the CDC added.