In response to the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses, labeled E-Cigarette or Vaping product use Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) by the CDC, Washington State has implemented increasingly strict vaping regulations. The state began by banning flavored vaping products in October, signed by the executive order by Gov. Jay Inslee and set to last 120 days. Since the signing of the order, the CDC has determined some primary causes of the illnesses: vitamin E acetate.
Vitamin E Acetate
A common ingredient in the black market, THC laced vape products, vitamin E acetate is not meant to be inhaled. When ingested orally or through the skin, as in pills or lotions, the solution is safe and often used as a supplement. When inhaled, the acetate sticks to and burns the lungs. Traces of vitamin E acetate have been found in a majority of EVALI cases, and most commonly in people who have reported using unregulated, THC vaping products. The substance has yet to be found in regulated vaping products.
If It’s Vitamin E Acetate, Why the Large Scale Ban?
While vitamin E acetate might be suspected of causing illnesses, it isn’t the reason people are vaping. JUUL and other e-cigarette manufacturers have been under heavy criticism, including lawsuits, for their part in getting minors addicted to nicotine through flavored vaping products. Statewide bans of flavored vaping products have been put in place in multiple states, and Washington State just implemented a ban on all vaping products containing vitamin E. It is currently unclear what the most recent ban will do, as most of the products currently containing vitamin E acetate are already unregulated and manufactured outside the scope of the law.
Beyond the ban of the suspected substance, banning flavored vaping products is also an attempt to reduce the number of minors at risk of developing an early nicotine addiction. E-cigarettes have incredibly high nicotine levels and were marketed heavily towards a younger audience. This marketing failed to acknowledge all the risks of nicotine addiction, and flavored products make vaping more appealing to minors than traditional smoking. The ban is hoped to stem the rising tide of minors who will suffer the life-long effects of nicotine addiction.