In a recent post on his blog page, Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health, Dr. Michael Siegel, said that the CDC’s recent announcement has confirmed what previous studies and several anti-smoking experts have been insisting on for months. Research looking into the cause of EVALI, is pointing to the consumption of vitamin E acetate oil, found in illicit THC products.

“They tested lung tissue samples from 29 case patients and all 29 (100%) were found to contain vitamin E acetate oil. This finding does represent a major breakthrough for four reasons:

  1. The vitamin E acetate oil was detected in the actual lung tissue of the case patients.
  2. The vitamin E acetate oil was detected in every single one of the lung tissue samples from these 29 case patients.
  3. The samples came from 10 different states, confirming that the outbreak seems to have a common cause, rather than geographic variation.
  4. Three of the patients whose lung samples revealed vitamin E acetate had reported using only nicotine-containing products, thus confirming that there is significant under-reporting which may explain why about 11% of the patients do not report vaping THC.”

Siegel pointed out that given the amount of damage that has already been done by warning the public to give up vaping altogether, it is imperative that policy makers now take the initiative to explain that vaping legal products carries no risks. “At this point, it is time for state policy makers and politicians to immediately discontinue their conflation of this outbreak with the problem of youth e-cigarette use. It is time for all policy makers, health agencies, and health professionals to immediately stop stating or implying that legal, nicotine-containing e-liquids have anything to do with the outbreak.”

Damage still being done

However sadly, the opposite is true as misinformation is still being spread. Siegel pointed out that in an article by Milwaukee’s NBC news station, a physician made the false claim that a single puff of a nicotine e-cigarette could kill you. “Probably most of them [the case patients] we see are nicotine. There’s really no one particular substrate that causes it,” said the physician, at no point saying that the EVALI cases are linked to THC.

“This goes way beyond exaggeration. It is blatantly lying to the public. The truth is that 89% of the case patients nationally have admitted to vaping THC, and black market THC products have been found to contain large amounts of vitamin E acetate oil.”Dr. Michael Siegel

Siegel rightly pointed out that this alarming claim goes beyond being an inaccurate warning. “This goes way beyond exaggeration. It is blatantly lying to the public. The truth is that 89% of the case patients nationally have admitted to vaping THC, and black market THC products have been found to contain large amounts of vitamin E acetate oil. Both the FDA and the CDC agree that the predominant cause of the outbreak is the vaping of THC-containing liquids, not nicotine liquids,” he said.

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