Search narrows for lung-damaging vape component

The culprit in the ongoing outbreak of vape-related lung injury might be pre-filled THC cartridges, and possibly a counterfeit brand known as Dank Vapes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency is basing its assumption on interviews about vape or e-cigarette use in 86 lung injury patients in Illinois and Wisconsin, which found that 75 (87 per cent) of them had used THC or tetrahydrocannabidiol vapes from “informal sources” – such as friends, family or street purchases – in the preceding three months.

61 per cent of respondents also reported using nicotine-based vapes, but 83 per cent of those came from commercial vendors. Although no single brand name was reported by all patients, a prefilled THC cartridge sold under the brand name Dank Vapes was reported by 57 (66%) patients, according to the CDC.

“The predominant use of prefilled THC-containing cartridges among patients with lung injury associated with e-cigarette use suggests that they play an important role,” the agency said in a statement.

It added that Dank Vapes “appears to be the most prominent in a class of largely counterfeit brands, with common packaging that is easily available online and that is used by distributors to market THC-containing cartridges with no obvious centralised production or distribution.”

THC is the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high, and around a third of call cases of lung injury have been seen in patients using THC products only. These products are only legal in some US states.

16 per cent of those questioned said they used nicotine-only products, but its possible that some may have been reluctant to admit using THC products, especially if those are illegal in their home state

At last count (September 24), the CDC said it was aware of 805 cases of lung injury linked to vape use, along with 12 deaths, in 46 US states and one US territory. That is an increase from 530 cases and seven deaths in the middle of September.

Until the investigation is complete, the CDC has urged the public not to vape any product, and in particular to avoid those containing THC.

Image courtesy of sarahjohnson1 via Pixabay

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