SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — E-cigarettes have been around for a few years, so why is there a sudden spike in related illnesses?
Health investigators are looking into several possibilities including contaminants in the vaping liquids, the heating device itself, recycled e-cig cartridges that may be contaminated, and counterfeit devices teens buy off the street.
The vaping industry, however, is pointing to THC vaping products. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.
While traditional e-cigs, like JUUL, vaporize a nicotine liquid, there are products that vaporize waxes and oils. The CDC says many of the people who were hospitalized also reported using those.
The federal government could not say exactly how many of the 215 patients in 25 states reported vaping THC in addition to nicotine, but an Oregon man who died in July and a hospitalized Long Island teen both reportedly used cannabis vape pens, not nicotine.
Of 32 cases in Wisconsin, the state reported: "the majority" vaped "THC-containing products." Of the 49 California patients, the state said: "some" vaped "unlicensed or unregulated products, beginning in late June."
They stress many were of the those were purchased from pop up shops and unlicensed vendors in California. Marijuana vape products that are legally sold in California stores are regulated tested for contaminants.
It is important to note there is no one type of product associated with these cases, and not every patient vaped THC.
The CDC is urging caution with all vape devices while they continue testing and urging people to not buy bootleg or street products.
After this story originally arid, the California Cannabis Industry Association issued the following statement:
"While investigations are ongoing and a cause has not yet been identified, it is important to note that no cannabis vaping products purchased at licensed cannabis businesses have been linked to these illnesses. In fact, CDPH is currently attributing illnesses in California to untested products purchased from the illicit market. California's regulated cannabis and cannabis products are rigorously tested for residuals, toxins, solvents, pesticides and heavy metals above and beyond the testing required for any other manufactured product sold in California. Consequently, when consumers purchase cannabis on the illicit market, they are subjecting themselves to a number of potential health risks. CCIA is committed to working with the CDPH and local public health agencies to identify the cause of this illness."
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