Sep 21, 2019

The exploding black market for counterfeit THC vaping products

E-cigarette use at Gone With the Smoke Vapor Lounge in 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Cannabis oils, vaping devices, packaging materials for vape products and vape products with THC are separately available on Instagram, Amazon and Facebook's Marketplace, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: 8 people across the U.S. have died from lung-related illnesses linked to vaping, as of Sept. 20. This online marketplace "is increasingly difficult for law enforcement and tech companies to police because of the geographic distribution of users ... and the use of private accounts and messaging apps to sell illicit products," per the WSJ.

Details: Tech companies say they have policies "against any illegal or inappropriate sales and do remove offenders from their sites," according to the WSJ. They reportedly invest in technology and teams to find "illegitimate products" on their platforms.

  • "... it is illegal to sell THC-containing products online and to ship these across state lines or internationally," the WSJ writes.

What they're saying: “We don’t know what the exact ingredients are on the online, unregulated sources,” University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies epidemiologist Denise Vidot, who studies the health effects of cannabis, told the WSJ.

  • “The resources to make it look like you have a legitimate product are easier to get” thanks to the internet, Vlad Valme of Portland, Ore.-based Thompson Duke Industrial, which manufactures vape-pod-filling machines, told the WSJ.

Go deeper: CDC says vaping-related illnesses are up nearly 50% since last week

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FDA: Stop using THC vaping products

A man uses an e-cigarette in D.C. in 2018. Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

The FDA released a consumer alert on Friday stating the public should not use vaping products that contain THC, the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

Why it matters: Officials from the Centers for Disease Control say that THC vape products have been linked to a majority of patients with vaping-related lung injuries, which have caused 18 deaths as of Oct. 4. There are currently 1,080 confirmed and probable cases of the lung injury, per the CDC.

Go deeperArrowOct 5, 2019

CDC confirms 2,807 hospital cases of lung injury linked to vaping

Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

There are 2,807 confirmed hospital cases of lung injury associated with vaping in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb 18.

What's new: Because of the consistent declines in new EVALI cases since Sept. 2019, as well as the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, Tuesday's report will be the final CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 25, 2020 - Health

CDC: THC products linked to vaping-related lung injuries

Vaping liquids and cartridges. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The CDC announced Friday that THC vape products have been linked to a majority of patients with vaping-related lung injuries, citing to data from 1 local and 1 national study.

Why it matters: While the CDC is not shifting its focus away from nicotine, officials said 77% of those with exposure histories reported using products that contain THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, or both THC-containing products and nicotine-containing products.

Go deeperArrowSep 27, 2019