The CDC released a report last Friday identifying a culprit ingredient in vaping fluids connected to a national outbreak of vaping related illnesses. The compound, Vitamin E Acetate, was found in the lungs of 29 patients across the country.
The report said that most of the Vitamin E Acetate cases came from using THC based vaping cartridges, usually illegal ones from the black market. The compound is commonly used as a thickener for vaping fluids.
One Temple student who chose to remain anonymous says that these reports don’t worry him about his vaping use. “The CDC said that Vitamin E Acetate has mostly been in THC cartridges. I just smoke a Juul, which is nicotine based, so I’m not that concerned right now.”
Professor Jennifer Ibrahim of Temple’s College of Public Health says that it is “silly” to say something like that. She says that, “Whether it’s nicotine in those cartridges or THC, you need to recognize that any form of vaping could be dangerous to your health, specifically to respiratory health.”
Professor Ibrahim says that the CDC studies are still inconclusive and still very much in progress toward finding out exactly what is causing lung damage among vapers across the country. The results from the recent study only explain a fraction of cases, and later results will likely link vaping illnesses to all kinds of vaping, not just THC based products.
Professor Ibrahim says that vaping and its related health issues are a rising epidemic. A 2017 study conducted by Temple’s Presidential Smokefree Campus Taskforce showed that 30% of Temple students reported using some form of vaping. This is likely to be a rising number, as well as a rising concern for the Department of Public Health. Ibrahim says that the Public Health Department is “really concerned with the Temple community. And we want to put the information out there so that people are aware. We know that our students are young adults and autonomous individuals, and we want to give them the information to be making the safe decisions for themselves.”
Another student who also elected to remain anonymous used to be addicted to a Juul, but when the news first came out that vaping use was being connected to lung damage and respiratory illnesses, he decided to quit for good. “Once the stuff started coming out about like, people were getting really sick, like their lungs were really sick, and risk factors that we didn’t really know about because it was so new, I started to get really concerned and that convinced me to stop.”
Regardless of what the CDC concludes from their research and studies, Temple’s College of Public Health wants students and young adults to remember and understand that the best way to avoid smoking or vaping related illness is to quit.