Nearly four in five people who suffered vaping-related lung injury reported using products that contained THC, alone or combined with nicotine, prompting health officials to declare THC-packed cartridges often purchased on the black market “may play a role” in the outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said of 514 injured patients who reported details on their use of vaping devices and e-liquids, 77% used products that contained THC, alone or combined with nicotine. Only 16% of injured vapers said they used nicotine-only products.
In a separate report that examined a smaller group of vapers, health officials in Illinois and Wisconsin said about two-thirds of those injured said they used a product called “Dank Vapes,” sold in cartridges and often obtained from nonretail sources such as friends, family members or street suppliers.
“These findings do highlight the predominate use of pre-packaged, pre-filled THC cartridges obtained through informal sources,” said Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist at the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Layden said the mostly young male vapers typically used more than one brand. In addition to Dank Vapes, other users cited THC-containing brands such as TKO, Off White, Moon Rocks, Chronic Carts, Cookies, Smart Carts and Kingpen.
Thursday, the CDC reported the number of vaping-related lung injury cases jumped to 805 and the number of deaths to 12. The CDC report, from 46 states and one territory as of Tuesday, was an increase from last week when the tally was 530 cases and seven deaths.
The Trump administration endorsed a ban of non-tobacco, flavored vaping products, and a growing number of states are working to ban or restrict the devices. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee directed state health officials Friday to enact a ban on flavored vaping products. Michigan and New York are banning flavored vaping products, and Massachusetts ordered a four-month ban on all vaping products.