Why are Americans dying from Vitamin E Acetate & EVALI Lung Disease with over 2,807 hospitalized EVALI cases and around 39 deaths recorded as of February 2020 across 50 states in the US. The UK has only had one report of EVALI to the MHRA. Why the big difference?
First of all it’s important to note that an additive in some THC-containing e liquid, or vaping, products, is strongly linked to the EVALI lung disease outbreak. THC (a cannabis derivative), or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects (it gets one high). When created illicitly for vaping it can contain Vitamin E Acetate, which should not be inhaled directly into the lungs.
MHRA Licensing & Testing
In the UK the MHRA operate strict guidelines for the manufacture and sale of e liquid. A licensed e liquid manufacturer has to perform all sorts of laboratory tests on their liquid as well as in vapour format. These results, performed by a legitimate laboratory, are then sent to the MHRA for scrutiny to make sure they meet the guidelines. This ensures that nearly all e liquid on sale in the UK, from reputable sources, is safe. The problem can arise when consumers buy from non-licensed and non-reputable sources. In doing this they are putting their health at risk as they cannot know with what they are vaping is safe or not.
THC Vape In The UK
The sale of THC in the UK comes under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations Act 2001 and is illegal so there is little chance of consumers inhaling Vitamin E Acetate apart from users who illegally source THC vape products through non-regulated sources. Too many times I have seen customers walk into The Vape Shop looking for batteries to power illicit THC cartridges they have bought online. Because these are illegal they are not regulated and users don’t understand how dangerous vaping something like that can be. With the increase in the availability of CBD, (a non psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant), in the form of vape liquid and oral drops (and now even CBD flower) it’s no wonder the THC aspect has latched onto this market.
Decline of EVALI
Luckily through the increased public awareness of the risk associated with THC-containing cartridges, or THC ejuice, product use by consumers has declined in the US. This is in conjunction with e liquid manufacturers in the US removing any traces of vitamin E acetate from any of their e liquid ranges. Luckily because of the MHRA guidelines for e liquid manufacturing in the UK Vitamin E acetate is not present in UK liquids. While the risk of EVALI caused by vaping illicit THC e liquid is reducing due to the above actions there are still people at risk who are searching and purchasing THC vaping products to get high without having to use tobacco methods.
The Vape Shop would like to warn all vapers to stay away from THC vape products, even if they come from a seemingly reputable source. For one it’s illegal and for two, and more importantly, you could be putting your health at serious risk that may result in death. It’s just not worth it.