Vaping Illness Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Over the past few weeks, a panic has broken out relating to vape use. Over a thousand lung injury cases (including coughing, chest and abdominal pain, fatigue, and nausea) relating to vaping have come to light. Twenty six of these cases have been fatal.

While the CDC investigates exact causes, precautionary measures are being taken across the country. Massachusetts issued a temporary ban on vaping, other states are considering doing the same, and many people are fearful of vaping amid the panic.

So far, the CDC has been unable to identify a single substance in all of the cartridges that have made people sick. Since the majority of vaping products that have caused illnesses have contained THC, some are jumping the gun on blanket warnings against vaping cannabis. However, emerging research shows that the likely culprit is additives and/or solvents in unregulated products.

Brand New Insights

In light of the skyrocketing rates of illness, CDC and other sources are urgently testing vaping products to figure out the source of the problem. The New York Department of Health found that all vaping-related illnesses were associated with cartridges containing vitamin E, a vitamin that is necessary when ingested, but extremely dangerous when inhaled. Any state-regulated products sold in licensed dispensaries would not be allowed to contain this substance.

NBC News commissioned testing of THC cartridges and found the presence of other substances in unregulated products. Most black market cartridges contained Vitamin E, which the NY Department of Health identified as a risk. Black market cartridges also tested positive for pesticides, particularly myclobutanil, which can turn into hydrogen cyanide when burned. The samples from licensed dispensaries, however, contained no pesticides or solvents like Vitamin E, per state regulations.

The CDC has not officially identified any single substance to be a cause of injury, but they publicly advise against using any unregulated vaping product that may contain dangerous additives and solvents. Just this week they released a new study investigating vaping injuries in Illinois and Wisconsin, which identified the leading brands associated with illness.

By far the brand leading the number of THC-related injuries is Dank Vapes, a name associated with the black market, inconsistency, and failed lab testing. A handful of other, less known brands made the list, shown here in the chart.

None of the trusted brands we have purchased from licensed dispensaries have been linked to any vaping-related illnesses. Dosist, one of our favorites, has an official statement on their website concerning the vaping scare, with easy access to their product lab test results showing negative results for Vitamin E, pesticides, or any other dangerous material. Beboe and Alpine, whose products we have reviewed, also have been lab tested for all of these potential dangers.

What This Means for You

While the CDC still encourages the public to avoid vaping until they have official, conclusive findings, there are currently no known cases of vaping illnesses that have been linked to regulated, tested products that are found in state licensed dispensaries. All of the reported cases relating to vaping products with THC have been from unregulated sources, which likely contain Vitamin E and/or other dangerous solvents and pesticides.

Here at Rebalan, we have always encouraged consumers to purchase and use products only from licensed dispensaries for these exact reasons. You can only know you are purchasing products that have been tested and approved if you buy them from a licensed dispensary. If vaping has been helpful for you and you choose to continue using vaping products while research continues, only use what has been purchased from a licensed dispensary and has not been tampered with. If you experience any of the symptoms associated with vaping injuries, seek medical care immediately.

This article is not medical or legal advice. Please see a healthcare professional to address any concerns.


Header Image:
Rubén Bagüés