Resources: Vaping Related Lung Injury

Research and resources related to the recent outbreak of vaping related lung injury
By Project CBD On October 14, 2019 (Updated on October 23, 2019)
A vape pen with cartridge attached against a naturally lit grey-white background.

VAPING-RELATED LUNG INJURIES

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released a report on October 4th highlighting some facts about the recent outbreak of lung injuries related to vaping. The spate of hospitalizations appears to have started in July of 2019. As of October 1, 2019, there were 1,080 reported cases matching the CDC criteria and 18 deaths.  Those afflicted are typically male and in their early twenties. No single cause has been associated with all reports. Only 578 patients (about half) reported on what they had vaped in the 3 months prior to symptom onset. Of these, 78% reported using THC-containing products, and 58% reported using nicotine-containing products. Many reported using both.

There has been enormous speculation about the possible causes of these injuries. Blame and attention has tended to focus on flavoring agents and thinning and thickening additives, particularly vitamin E acetate – additives that Project CBD has been warning about for years. Others have speculated that synthetic cannabinoids may be playing a role. Several state health departments have noted that injuries seem to correlate to THC vape cartridges that had been illegally manufactured and purchased in the “black market.”

If you have experieced vaping related lung injury and still have the vape cartridges you were using, the FDA is collecting samples here.

CDC CRITERIA FOR CONFIRMED & PROBABLE CASES OF VAPING-RELATED LUNG INJURY

According to the CDC, a confirmed case of Vaping-Related Lung Injury is defined as an individual that: (i) has vaped within the past 90 days, (ii) has pulmonary infiltrates which appear as ground-glass opacities on a CT scan, and (iii) has no infection, heart condition, or other disease that could explain respiratory distress. If a lung infection has not been fully ruled out, vaping is assumed to be the probable cause. Given the inclusiveness of this criteria, it’s quite likely that multiple causes are contributing to the hospitalizations and deaths.

SCIENTIFIC RESOURCES FOR VAPING-RELATED LUNG INJURIES

While hundreds of scientists are now urgently working to figure out the cause of these injuries, there are clinical case reports of these sorts of injuries going back to 2011. Below is a sampling of pertinent case articles and studies. We will keep you posted as new research emerges.

General

Flavoring & Diluting Agents

Pneumonitis

Lipoid Pneumonia

Acute Lung Injury Patterns

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Revision date: 
Oct 23, 2019