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New York Department Of Health Says Cannabis – Not Nicotine – Cause Of Recent Outbreak
The New York State Department of Health today released one of the few first statements by officials at the state or federal level that gives a fair and accurate representation of what may have led to recent cases of lung illness. VTA applauds NYDOH for identifying unregulated black-market cannabis-containing products as the likely culprit and for warning consumers to the dangers of these products so that they are fully informed about what products to avoid.
Specifically, NYDOH explained that:
“Laboratory test results showed very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed by the Wadsworth Center as part of this investigation. At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing. Vitamin E acetate is not an approved additive for New York State Medical Marijuana Program-authorized vape products and was not seen in the nicotine-based products that were tested. As a result, vitamin E acetate is now a key focus of the Department’s investigation of potential causes of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses.”
In addition, the NYDOH made the following statement, which echoes precisely the same warnings that VTA issued in a statement last week:
“Anyone using vape products should never use unregulated products purchased ‘off the street.’ Cannabis-containing products are not legally available in New York State for recreational use. These unregulated products are not tested and may contain harmful substances. Users of vape products should never modify vape products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.”
To reiterate, VTA in no way supports the manipulation or adulteration of vapor products to consume THC, THC oil, marijuana, or synthetic products like K2.
E-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing vapor products are designed for the consumption of nicotine to provide adult smokers an alternative to cigarettes; they are not intended to be used to consume illicit substances. Also, the NYDOH finding underscores the fact that while nicotine-containing vapor products are heavily regulated by the Food & Drug Administration, cannabis-vaping products are entirely “unregulated.”
According to Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians, after a complete review of all the peer-reviewed science on vapor products, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and vapor products are at least 95% safer than smoking cigarettes.
VTA Asks Health Officials to Speak Responsibly
In light of the seriousness of reports regarding lung disease in youth, the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) strongly urges public officials to thoroughly investigate the circumstances which might have led to each reported hospitalization before making statements to the public as to whether certain products are implicated in these incidents. To date, several public health agencies have failed to provide clear information and, instead, are unnecessarily frightening consumers by failing to distinguish between e-cigarettes and non-nicotine vaporizers.
Recent reports increasingly indicate that these adverse events are linked to illicit substances such as THC and cannabis, not e-cigarettes. For example, the New Mexico Department of Health has clearly determined that products containing THC are likely responsible for the cases highlighted in New Mexico. Despite this, virtually every other public health official continues with their generalized and repeated references to “e-cigarettes.” Such inaccurate warnings will result in either (1) people continuing to use the risky products actually causing the harm about which they have not been specifically warned; or (2) many smokers using e-cigarettes becoming ‘scared’ by these reports and moving back to deadly combustible cigarettes.
VTA condemns in the strongest possible terms the sale or use of black-market products and does not endorse the manipulation or adulteration of vapor products to consume THC, THC oil, marijuana, or synthetic products like K2. E-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing vapor products are designed for the consumption of nicotine to provide adult smokers an alternative to cigarettes; they are not intended to be used to consume illicit substances.
E-cigarettes and nicotine-containing vapor products are used by millions of adults as an alternative to combustible cigarettes, and most vapor products on the market are of high-quality. Nonetheless, no person should:
- misuse or alter a vapor device designed for vaping nicotine-containing products by attempting to vape anything other than an e-liquid designed to be used with that device;
- use any products other than those purchased from a reputable establishment; and
- use a vapor product offered to them by someone else without knowing precisely what they are consuming.
FDA has imposed regulatory requirements on nicotine-containing vapor products for more than three years, since August 8, 2016, including strict labeling and packaging restrictions that require vapor companies to, among other requirements, disclose all of the ingredients in the products sold.
In stark contrast, none of the products designed for THC, cannabis and any other non-nicotine substances are regulated by the FDA.
Importantly, major medical groups and governments have conclusively determined that vapor products are 95% safer than combustible cigarettes, and studies have shown that they are nearly twice as effective at helping adults quit smoking than traditional methods.