Sep 15, 2019

New arrests shed light on vaping's black market

Photo: Lisa Ducret/picture alliance via Getty Images

Police arrested 2 men in a drug bust in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for manufacturing and selling THC-laced vaping cartridges, an illegal practice that could be driving the lung-related illness linked to vaping, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: State and federal health investigators have not determined the cause of the illness, but their ongoing hypothesis is noxious chemicals finding their way into vaping supplies through illegal manufacturing.

Context: State and federal health labs on Sept. 5 announced that they found a common chemical linked to every patient who provided a sample of their marijuana products.

  • The chemical, vitamin E acetate, is not an approved additive for THC vaping liquid in New York.
  • A 17-year-old who was one of the people hospitalized in New York state for the lung illness told the Times that he'd meet people on the street who were selling THC vaping fluid.
    • “I’d meet people at Starbucks, a cross street, in front of an apartment, wherever they tell you,” he said. “It never comes up where they source it. You don’t ask.”

Medium-grade THC is expensive, so people illegally add cheap substances to stretch the oil further and turn a larger profit.

  • Police found the 2 men with vaping cartridges labeled with flavors like strawberry and peaches and cream, flavors that President Trump plans to ban as a way to curb the dramatic rise in youth vaping.

Go Deeper: 6 dead from vaping-related lung illness

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Revenue from marijuana vaping products dips 15% amid health fears

Vape pens. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The legal marijuana industry's revenue from sales of vaping products has dropped 15% amid health fears stemming from a vaping-related lung illness, AP reports.

Why it matters: Most of the patients who were sickened had a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC, the chemical found in marijuana, and nearly all cases were found in people who purchased products from illegal sellers. Federal and state health agencies have advised the public to stop vaping until they can find conclusive evidence about the cause of the illness.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

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

Court temporarily stalls New York ban on flavored e-cigarettes

A man smokes an e-cigarette in New York in 2017.  Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

A state appellate court blocked New York's ban on all flavored electronic cigarettes the first week of October, preventing New York from becoming the second state to put such a ban in place, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The Food and Drug Administration announced last month that it was finalizing plans to pull all flavored e-cigarette cartridges from the market. Massachusetts currently has the harshest vaping ban in U.S.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 4, 2019