US health officials retreated from a previous warning about e-cigarette use, instead recommending that people not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component in cannabis, “particularly from informal sources like friends, family, or in-person or online dealers”.
The CDC found that “82% of hospitalised patients with data on substance use reported using THC-containing products; 33% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products”. It also said vitamin E acetate, an oil chemical used to dilute THC, “is strongly linked” to the lung disease (EVALI) associated with vaping.
In September, the CDC had cautioned against using e-cigarette products as it investigated vaping-related lung disease, saying people “should consider” avoiding vaping altogether.
The federal agency on Friday said emergency visits related to vaping have continued to fall after surging in August last year and peaking the following month.
The weekly emergency department visit rate peaked at 116 per million in September 2019 and fell to about 35 per million earlier this month. The agency attributed the decline to increased public awareness, removal of vitamin E acetate from certain products and law enforcement actions related to certain products.
The CDC also maintained that “adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette, or vaping, products”.
The growing e-cigarette market has come under scrutiny as regulators probe various illnesses and use of the devices among young people.
The CDC said 60 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia.