OCT 04, 2019 07:14 AM PDT

Could Black Market Vape Pens Be Fatal?

WRITTEN BY: C Reardon

Vaping products are becoming increasingly popular, both the legal and knock-off options. These products are currently driving what the medical community is referring to as a public health crisis. The vaping industry is quickly becoming a billion-dollar industry that the FDA is having a hard time monitoring as it grows at such a rapid rate. 

According to health officials, there have been twelve reported deaths from mysterious lung illnesses linked to vape pens, and 805 individuals hospitalized across the United States after use. Dr. Melodi Pirzada, a pediatric pulmonologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, New York, is calling this is "a new epidemic."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that, at the time of hospitalization, most patients affected reported the use of vaping products containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant. Health officials believe that Vitamin E acetate, a solvent present in vape pens, could be responsible for the health issues that followed. 

Photo Source: Rollingstone.com

However, no single substance is currently linked to all of the cases mentioned above. 

In a study funded by NBC News, one of the largest cannabis testing facilities in the United States tested THC cartridges from both legal dispensaries and those purchased on the black market. Their findings showed that the three products purchased from a licensed dispensary contained no heavy metals, pesticides, or Vitamin E. However, thirteen out of the fifteen products sold by unlicensed dealers contained Vitamin E. Ten of these unlicensed products also tested positive for pesticides.  

Photo Source: Pixabay.com

What's even more concerning is that research found that all of the products contained myclobutanil, which when burned, can change into hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide (AC) is a systemic chemical asphyxiant that interferes with the normal use of oxygen by just about every organ of the body. A chemical that no human would willfully ingest or inhale. 

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