Dodelijke vapen longziekten duiken op in de VS, en experts geven de schuld aan alles, van plantaardige olie tot 'Dank Vapes'


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Vaping is becoming a pervasive part of culture and daily life. Even this stock image of “friends spending time together” includes what appears to be a vape pen.
Luxy Images/Getty Images
  • A mysterious and deadly crop of lung injuries is showing up across the US. Health experts think vaping may be to blame.
  • At least 2 people have died from lung illnesses after vaping, and hundreds more have been injured. Some have been put into medically-induced comas.
  • Authorities at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still aren’t sure what’s causing the dangerous trend, but theories range from issues with vegetable oil in vape juice to the idea that doctors are just now taking note of a problem that’s been percolating for a long time.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more.

Hundreds of vapers across the US are getting dangerously ill. They’re reporting mysterious symptoms like chest pains, fever, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Two people have died from these lung illnesses, and several more have been so near death they were pushed into medically-induced comas. Investigators at the CDC suspect that vaping — and in particular, vaping with cannabinoid liquids like THC — may be part of the problem.

At least 215 cases of this “severe pulmonary disease” have been reported to the CDC, but the true number of cases may be much higher than that. More than 350 possible cases across 29 US states have been tallied so far by the Washington Post.

But experts are still stumped as to what, precisely, is causing this unprecedented rash of sicknesses.

“We don’t yet know the exact cause of these illnesses — whether they’re caused by contaminants, ingredients in the liquid or something else, such as the device itself,” Dr. Ann Thomas, a public health physician with the Oregon Health Authority, said Tuesday when she announced that the first person in that state had died from one of these puzzling lung issues.

Because vaping remains largely unregulated by the FDA, it’s tough to know exactly what vapers are inhaling that might be contributing to these health problems. Here are experts’ best guesses to date.

Vegetable oil and vitamin E can help deliver desired drugs to vapers. But they may also cause harm, especially if they’re not heated up right.

From left to right: vegetable glycerine, marijuana-infused glycerine, manicured marijuana buds, and trim and “B” grade buds.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

In theory, vape users should not be ingesting any liquid oils when they inhale, only the vapor from e-cigarettes that looks like white smoke.

In practice, that’s not always what happens.

Because solvents like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin (PG-VG) are commonly used to deliver drugs to vapers (everything from cannabinoids to nicotine) there is always the chance that a rogue oil may not get completely transformed into vapor, instead traveling into the lungs as a liquid and causing harm.

This may be what’s happening with vitamin E acetate, which is found naturally in some vegetable oils.


Vitamin E acetate (which is in oils including canola, soy, and corn) vaporizes at 363 degrees Fahrenheit, well above temperatures at which some people vape.

Investigators who were on a briefing call between the FDA and state health agencies recently told the Washington Post that vitamin E acetate has been found in cannabis samples from numerous sick patients who’d vaped in New York.

It could be the case that this vitamin oil, which is meant to harmlessly deliver drugs, is ending up in people’s lungs as a liquid. Then, the body mounts an immune response to the invasive substance, prompting pneumonia.

People are buying vapes off the black market and many contain a fungicide that releases toxic fumes.

The elusive black market company “Dank Vapes” has health officials concerned.
AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer

In July, an unnamed man used a cannabis vape vial off the street in Wisconsin and was later hospitalized and put on life support.

As Inverse recently reported, there’s a growing market for these cartridges, which use cannabis distillates in a liquid form rather than marijuana flower to get users high. Sellers can open and tamper with these distillate vials, adding other ingredients to make their supply last longer.

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb believes the underground sale of these products could play a major role in the rise of vape illnesses.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a former FDA commissioner.
Thomson Reuters

“I think this is probably going to be associated with illegal products,” Gottlieb told the New York Times. “It’s not like the major manufacturers have suddenly changed their ingredients. It’s probably something new that has been introduced into the market by an illegal manufacturer, either a new flavor or a new way to emulsify THC that is causing these injuries.”

One brand, Dank Vapes, is known to sell these black market cannabis vapes.

A woman uses a electronic vaporizers with cannabidiol (CBD)-rich hemp oil while attending the International Cannabis Association Convention in New York, October 12, 2014.
Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

People who sell “Dank Vape” brand devices on the black market market them as premium marijuana consumption devices, but the person who is running the business is a mystery, according to Inverse.

Dank Vapes continues to grow because it offers an accessible marijuana option in states where the drug is still illegal, plus a more inexpensive option in states where legal cannabis is available.

The business is popular enough that others have started copying it with their own “Dank Vapes,” making the name itself even more mysterious and difficult to track.

“These are just people filling cartridges as ‘Dank Vapes.’ It’s not a singular facility. It’s just people in their garages filling them and selling them,” Mark Hoashi, the founder of the Doja app, told Inverse.

Vape juices often contain chemicals like formaldehyde.

The flavors of vaping liquids are one of the top two reasons young people told Reuters they begin using e-cigs.
REUTERS/David Becker

The composition of nicotine-containing vape juices varies based on flavor and brand, but according to pulmonologist Dr. Ravi Kalhan, a professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, certain chemicals that raise health concerns are found in a wide range of these products.

“There’s some disturbing stuff in these things, an endless number of chemicals,” Kalhan told Insider.

Kalhan said some e-cigarettes produce formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause lung disease. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies formaldehyde as a “probable human carcinogen,” which means inhaling the substance could increase a person’s cancer risk.

Most e-cigs also produce acrolein, a chemical often found in weed killer.

The chemical acrolein releases when gasoline is burned.
Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

In 2018, The American Chemical Society found that people who inhaled acrolein sustained changes to their DNA. “If the cell does not repair the damage so that normal DNA replication can take place, cancer could result,” a press release on the research said.

The chemical, which releases when gasoline is burned, has been linked to lung and gastrointestinal problems, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Nicotine hurts the lungs, whether it’s vaped or smoked, and could also be at fault.

Jordan Michelle vapes a CBD oil made from hemp at the Cannabis World Congress Conference on June 16, 2017 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty

“Just be aware that from the lungs’ perspective, vaping doesn’t seem to be better than smoking,” Professor Robert Tarran, who studies vaping at the University of North Carolina Marisco Lung Institute, told Insider.

His recent studies, and others like them in both animals and people who vape, suggest that vaping leads to more lung diseases, just like smoking does. Tarran is starting to think that vaping nicotine may not actually be much better than burning tobacco when it comes to long-term lung health.

“People who vape who’ve never smoked, they’re part of a whole new kind of social experiment,” he said. “Do they really want to be the guinea pigs?”

lide = “” data-slide-anchor = “# theres-ook-een-opkomende-bewijslast-dat-zelfs-nicotinevrije-vapen-kan-nog-pijn-volkeren-longen-potentieel-leidende- naar-meer-gevallen-van-longontsteking-zoals-degenen-die-artsen-hebben-gezien-deze-zomer-9 “data-slide-number =” 9 “data-slide-title =” Er is ook een opkomende bewijs dat zelfs nicotinevrije dampen nog steeds de longen van mensen kunnen beschadigen, wat mogelijk kan leiden tot meer gevallen van longontsteking zoals artsen deze zomer hebben gezien. ” id = “theres-ook-een-nieuwe-body-of-evidence-die-ook-nicotine-vrije vaping-can-still-pijn-volkeren-longen-potentieel-leading-to-meer-cases-of-pneumonie -net-the-ones-artsen-have-been-seeing-this-zomer-9” >     


Er is ook steeds meer bewijs dat zelfs nicotinevrije dampen nog steeds de longen van mensen kunnen beschadigen, wat mogelijk kan leiden tot meer gevallen van longontsteking zoals artsen deze zomer hebben gezien.

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Een man in een vape-bar in Kathmandu, Nepal op 26 mei 2019.
                                                                                                                          Reuters / Navesh Chitrakar                                              Span>                               Span>                                Cijfer>                  

Het zijn nog vroege dagen voor onderzoek naar e-sigaretten, maar een nieuwe studie uit woensdag in het Journal of Clinical Investigation suggereert dat muizenlongen gewond raken door vapen, ongeacht of hun knaagdiervriendelijke e-sigaretten nicotine bevatten of niet.

Er zijn meer onderzoeken bij mensen nodig om het zeker te weten, maar dit is een van de eerste bewijzen die suggereren dat het vapen van welke aard dan ook de longen kan beschadigen.

Muizen die e-sigaretten gebruikten gedurende een periode van vier maanden (een tijdsbestek bedoeld om jaren van e-sigaretgebruik bij mensen na te bootsen) produceerden uiteindelijk meer vetafzettingen in hun luchtwegen, wat kon ze vatbaarder maken voor ziekten en infecties zoals longontsteking, zelfs als er geen nicotine bij betrokken is.

“Ik denk dat er een opkomende consensus is dat de immuuncellen van de long een beetje overstuur zijn door vapen,” zei Tarran.



Naarmate vape-zaken opduiken, is het mogelijk dat artsen gewoon meer patiënten zijn gaan vragen naar hun verdampingsgewoonten.

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Artsen zijn zich steeds meer bewust van de nadelige gezondheidseffecten van vapen.
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“Soms zien we mensen die een mysterieuze ademhalingsziekte ontwikkelen en niet weten wat de oorzaak is. Het is niet altijd iets waar we altijd naar vragen, vapen,” zei Kalhan.

Recente berichtgeving in de media over vapenziekten kan daar verandering in hebben gebracht.



Misschien hebben deze longziekten zich al voorgedaan sinds het vapen begon.

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Aaron Flores ademt waterdampen uit een elektronische sigaret in Aqua Vape op 29 augustus 2013 in LA county.
                                                                                                                          Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images                                              Span>                               Span>                                Cijfer>                  

Casestudy’s van verwondingen door vapen gaan al in 2012, toen een 42-jarige vrouw werd meerdere keren in de ER gezien en voorgeschreven ” verschillende kuren met antibiotica “voordat artsen haar uiteindelijk vertelden om te stoppen met het gebruik van e-sigaretten. Pas toen verbeterden haar symptomen.

Professor Thomas Eissenberg van het Virginia Commonwealth University Center for the Study of Tobacco Products toonde Insider zes andere gevallen die sindsdien in medische tijdschriften over de hele wereld zijn gedocumenteerd.

“Alles behalve lucht en zuurstof is een belediging voor de longen,” zei hij. “Het cruciale punt hier is dat al die gevallen om regulering schreeuwen.”

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