EVALI not caused by vaping nicotine vape juice

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Back in 2019, there was a sudden outbreak of lung injuries associated with vaping in the United States which was labelled as EVALI. It saw several thousand people hospitalised with lung injuries, with the large majority of the people admitting to using a vaping device within the last three months from the date they were admitted to hospital.

The plot thickened however when the cases were looked into in more depth, and it was found that the sufferers of this, sadly, deadly disease weren’t using traditional shop bought vaping devices, and vape juice, instead they were using vape cartridges which contained THC, and were in fact illegal to possess.

A recent study has revealed that EVALI was in fact caused by these THC containing vape cartridges, and not standard vaping devices and vape juice. But still, sceptics will bring this up and tar vaping as a whole with these isolated cases three years on. I’m going to look at this in more detail, explain what EVALI is, and look at the report which proves wrong claims that traditional vaping can cause serious, deadly diseases like EVALI.

2019 – The outbreak of EVALI begins

EVALI stands for E-Cigarette, or Vaping Product Use Associated Lung Injury. You might have never heard of this term if you haven’t been following the vaping news, I know I certainly hadn’t until this all came to the surface, but its something worth taking notice of and getting used to as you’ll hear the term a lot in this article, and likely in anti-vaping publications for a long time to come.

In Summer 2019, there was a sudden outbreak of patients in USA being admitted to hospital with mysterious lung injuries that was causing confusion to healthcare professionals as to why there was a surge of these people being admitted all with the same problem. And with all of them having the same problem, they looked for the common denominator amongst them all, and that was; they all were vapers.

This sparked an investigation into why this sudden rise of admission were happening, and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to get involved and start probing and looking into this more deeply. By February 2020, there was 2800 separate admissions to hospital in a short span of time, with 68 people sadly losing their lives to this deadly disease.

The patients that were admitted to hospital complained of respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and chest pain. They all admitted to have used vaping products within the three months of their admission, and this was good enough for the CDC to immediately label vaping as dangerous and the news started spreading like wildfire that “vaping is bad and killing people in America”

Alas, the plot began to thicken with the more research and probing that was done into these cases of EVALI, with questions being asked about exactly what these people were vaping, and the outcomes of these probes provided a very interesting turn in the story…

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Patients weren’t vaping just Nicotine in their vaping devices

As mentioned, the CDC labelled vaping nicotine as dangerous due to the common factor of all of these patients who were suffering from symptoms being vapers, and this was good enough to see the vaping numbers amongst adults begin to slip down from what they previously were prior to this outbreak.

But this prompted scientists and researchers to take a bit of a deeper dive into this, and what they found out what fascinating. It turns out that while all of these 2800 cases had used vaping products in the previous 3 months from admission, it wasn’t nicotine based vape juice they were using, it was actually illegal THC containing vape cartridges!

When these THC cartridges are made, the makers of these cartridges were including Vitamin E Acetate as part of the liquid making process, and low and behold, THIS is what was causing the lung injuries all of these patients were suffering with. Samples of lung fluid were taken from 51 patients, and 48 of them came back positive for Vitamin E Acetate being present in the samples! They conducted a fair trial and took samples from a healthy person who vaped, and there was no trace of Vitamin E Acetate in their lung samples. Coincidence?

This became a super sticky topic of conversation between patients and doctors, who asked if patients were using these THC containing vape cartridges. This is due to the fact that in America, they have to pay for health care and insurance, and admission of using illegal substances and falling ill from it would proceed to null and void their insurance and they would have to foot the healthcare bill themselves. The other problem that arose was this happened right during the “youth vaping epidemic” of America, and a considerable number of patients admitted with EVALI were in fact under the age of 18. A very awkward situation for all involved!

Scientists also proved that standard run of the mill nicotine based vape juice would not cause EVALI nor contain Vitamin E Acetate, as the Vitamin E Acetate has to be heated up to dissolve and dilute, and Nicotine cannot withstand heat and would in turn spoil and ruin the vape juice.

This still wasn’t enough evidence and proof for the sceptics and non believers, and still “nicotine vaping causes EVALI” was being spread in papers and publications across the world, and still happening today. But a new study was released which pretty much confirms the above as fact, and not as speculation. Let’s take a look.

New publication proves EVALI was caused by THC containing vape liquid, and not nicotine vape liquid

The Drug and Alcohol Review, who are based in Australia, recently published a study concluding the fact that EVALI was not caused by nicotine vape juice, but in turn, THC containing vape juice.

The study is really detailed, and they hold the CDC accountable for misinforming people on the basis that nicotine vaping can cause EVALI, and they also pushed forward the suggestion that the term EVALI be renamed, rather than typecasting the whole of vaping causing lung injuries, when it was instead a specific thing and not vaping on the whole that caused these problems.

The study also deems that the under reporting of actual THC use by users is a highly likely probability, due to the above-mentioned problems with medical insurance as well as the social stigma that they are drug users. 14% of EVALI sufferers did admit they did not use THC, therefore it was deemed Nicotine vaping to be the problem, but it is likely the aforementioned hiding of the true facts was a realistic probability.

They conclude with the fact that there have been no verified cases of EVALI from vaping just nicotine e-liquids before, during or after the outbreak and the composition of vape liquids have remained unchanged during this entire period and furthermore after.

I absolutely agree for this name of EVALI to be changed, and for these various different outlets to stop scare mongering people into believing that Vaping nicotine will cause this lung injury, now nearly 4 years on from the initial outbreak.

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