It wasn't all that long ago that vaping companies, like Juul, were marketing themselves as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes to teens and influencers. Amber Rose released a "luxury" vaping line last year. Buzzfeed published a list of 27 vaping celebrities. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that 3.8 million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes, many of whom thought they were safe. Things have swiftly changed.
On the same day that Michigan moved to become the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, state and federal health officials announced that there's now a definitive link between vaping and dangerous lung illness. Investigators with the FDA have found that a contaminant, vitamin E acetate, has shown up in the oil of some marijuana vaping products, and that same chemical has turned up in nearly all cannabis samples from patients who have recently fallen ill in New York. In a call with state officials on Wednesday, members of the FDA said that they haven't found any similar contamination in nicotine products.
As the Washington Post reports:
Vitamin E is found naturally in certain foods, such as canola oil, olive oil and almonds. The oil derived from the vitamin, known as vitamin E acetate, is commonly available as a nutritional supplement and is used in topical skin treatments. It is not known to cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. Its name sounds harmless, experts said, but its molecular structure could make it hazardous when inhaled. Its oil-like properties could be associated with the kinds of respiratory symptoms that many patients have reported: cough, shortness of breath and chest pain, officials said.
This is the latest development in an outbreak of more than 200 respiratory illnesses across the country that have been linked to vaping. The Centers for Disease Control is currently investigating, and the agency issued an emergency health advisory warning people not to buy or consume vaping products that don't come from reputable manufacturers. Officials in Oregon also announced this week that one individual has died of severe respiratory illness as a result of vaping. It's the first known person who's died as a result of using vape products purchased from an actual dispensary.
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Originally Appeared on GQ