CDC urges people to avoid vaping THC amid lung disease outbreak

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The New York State Department of Health shared photos of some of the products it found to contain vitamin E acetate, a key focus of the department’s investigation into potential causes of vaping-associated lung disease.

Source: New York State Department of Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to stop vaping THC products as the death toll from a vaping-related lung disease rose again this week with no signs of abating.

The illness has sickened 805 people across 46 states and one territory, the CDC said Friday. One person died in Oregon and another reportedly died in North Carolina, bringing the death toll from the mysterious disease to at least 14.

THC, or the compound that produces a high in marijuana, was used by patients in most of the cases, CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat told reporters Friday. However, health officials still do not know what specific chemical is making people sick.

“Of the patients who reported what products they used, THC-containing products were the most prominent link across patients, with only 16% reporting using only nicotine-containing products,” Schuchat said.

Among the 514 cases where the CDC has data on which substance they were vaping, 76.9% said they used THC and 56.8% reported using nicotine. More than a third of the patients, 36%, said they exclusively used THC while 16% said they only vaped nicotine.

Illinois and Wisconsin officials in a report also published Friday found “Dank Vapes” was the most commonly used brand of pre-filled THC cartridges.

The illness is primarily hitting young men. Among the 805 patients, 69% were men and 62% were between the ages of 18 and 34, the CDC said. The median age is 23.

The CDC urges people to avoid vaping, particularly THC, until they figure out what’s making people sick.

“We do not know yet what exactly is making people sick,” Schuchat said. “For example, whether particular solvents or adulterants are leading to lung injury, or whether cases lead to a single supplier or multiple ones.”

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