CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and multiple public health and clinical partners are investigating a national outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use–associated lung injury (EVALI).
Based on data collected as of October 15, 2019, 86% of 867 EVALI patients reported using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products in the 3 months preceding symptom onset. Analyses of THC-containing product samples by FDA and state public health laboratories have identified potentially harmful constituents in these products, such as vitamin E acetate, medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil), and other lipids.
Vitamin E acetate, in particular, might be used as an additive in the production of e-cigarette, or vaping, products; it also can be used as a thickening agent in THC products. Inhalation of vitamin E acetate might impair lung function.
Vitamin E acetate was detected in all 29 patient BAL samples. Among 23 patients for whom self-reported THC use information was available, 20 reported using THC-containing products. THC or its metabolites were detected in 23 of 28 patient BAL samples, including in those of three patients who said they did not use THC products. Nicotine metabolites were detected in 16 of 26 patient BAL specimens. Results for plant oils, MCT oil, petroleum distillates, and diluent terpenes were all below analyte-specific levels of detection (typically in the low ng/mL range).