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More than 80% of patients with vaping lung disease used Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) e-cigarette products, according to the findings of a new study. However, the type of vaping product varied widely among users.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research indicates more than 220 different brand names of THC containing e-cigarettes were linked to cases of recent outbreak of vaping lung disease, which is a much wider variation than researchers had anticipated.
In findings published this week in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC outlines the results of data involving more than 2,800 patients who have been hospitalized with a condition now described as EVALI, or “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury”.
The vaping lung disease has raised serious questions about the safety of e-cigarettes, and may be responsible for more than 50 deaths nationwide.
During the outbreak, the Illinois Department of Public Health developed an online public survey targeting Illinois adults who used e-cigarettes. Overall, 4,500 survey responses were received from residents of all 102 Illinois counties. More than 20% of people, average age 34 years old, who responded to the survey reported using THC containing e-cigarettes or vaping products during the past 3 months.
Among THC e-cigarette containing users, more than half, or 53%, provided the brand names of products they used in the past 3 months.A total of 501 respondents reported using 732 THC containing products with 220 different brand names, a wide variety of different sources than health officials expected.
A total of 58 brands were reported by more than one person and accounted for nearly 80% of the products reported overall. The remaining 162 brands were reported by only one person each during the survey.
Dank Vapes was the most commonly reported brand name. It was reported by 151 respondents of the 732, or among 21% of users. Dank Vapes is a class of illicit THC containing products sold under the same brand name, but with no obvious centralized production or distribution.
Cresco was another commonly reported brand, but it was used by 8% of people who took the survey.
Products available through the Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Program accounted for 23% of reported products overall.
Nearly 70% of people who took the survey reported using THC vaping products. More so, 80% of those people used oil-containing cartridges and 7% reported using THC containing oil not in pre-filled cartridges.
“To reduce the risk of EVALI, people should not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources such as friends, family, or in-person or online dealers,” CDC researchers warned.
After EVALI first began appearing among e-cigarette users, officials began linking the vaping lung disease to patients who admitted to using THC-containing products. Later, researchers indicated e-cigarette users who used products that contained vitamin E acetate oil in the products were also at risk of developing lung injuries.
According to this latest study, people who responded to the survey indicated they used dabs or waxes 19% of the time. They also said they used marijuana plant material about 3% of the time.
Recently the CDC warned of rehospitalization linked to vaping lung disease, even after patients have recovered and been discharged from initial injuries and illnesses.