Three more cases of vaping-related lung disease have been reported by the Oregon Health Authority. This comes less than two weeks after the Oregon Liquor Control Commission banned products containing the substance vitamin E acetate, currently the prime suspect for the outbreak. This newest ban should not be confused with the prior flavored vaping product ban.
As of Tuesday, there have been 20 recorded cases of E-cigarette or Vaping Product Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) in Oregon, two of which were fatal.
According to data from OHA’s investigation, 12 of the 20 victims were women, with a median age of 34. Over half of the cases occurred in Jackson, Linn, Lane and Washington counties, along with smaller outbreaks in Coos, Douglas, Multnomah and Wasco counties.
A Likely Culprit
Early in November, the CDC identified vitamin E acetate as a potential cause of EVALI. The chemical, which is used as a thickening agent in vaping products, was found in lung fluid samples from 29 patients across 10 different states.
The CDC stated on their website that “While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other chemicals of concern to EVALI. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak.”
On November 21, the OLCC officially banned products containing vitamin E acetate.
“We’re making it clear that to protect consumer health we will vigorously scrutinize what goes into marijuana products sold in Oregon’s legal marketplace,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks in a press release. “The Commission is taking steps with our regulatory partners to put in place additional consumer safeguards. Just this week we discussed with the legislature establishing a state-run reference lab so that regulators can test marijuana products in an effort to better protect consumers.”
However, OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger told The Oregonian that vitamin E acetate isn’t found on any of the ingredient lists submitted to the state. Furthermore, the OLCC does not possess a lab with which to test any suspect products.
By Brandon Urey