Vaping is now the center of attention because of an unpredicted outbreak of pulmonary injury (VAPI) which has sicked up to 450 people and killed six in 33 states. Since the first death, the CDC has dug deep into what the leading cause could be. Their findings indicated that the culprit seemed to be vitamin E acetate used as a vape cartridge additive. The compound is trendy because of its ability to double the amount of oil. The new diluent thickener is mostly in illicit market THC vape carts.
Vitamin E is the name for several types of oils known as tocopherols. They are also found in corn and other vegetable oil or made synthetically from petroleum. Frequently, humans consume dietary supplements, and manufacturers use it for food and cosmetics.
“No vitamin E should be vaped regardless of its chemical structure,” said Eliana Golberstein Rubashkyn, chief scientist, Myriad Pharmaceuticals. When it comes from the plant sources of tocopherols, a chemist will extract vegetable oil. Then separate the tocopherols from the remaining of the vegetable oil using fractionation like a form of distilling.
A common form of Vitamin E is Hydroquinone still sold in the United States as a topical skin lightening product. It is used to treat dark spots or discolorations. The European Union banned hydroquinone because of the harmful side effects of its potential carcinogenic effects. If humans were to inhale residual hydroquinone aerosol from Blackmarket vitamin E oil could and will be deadly.
Hydroquinone dangerous compound sold in the United States as a topical skin lightening agent, normally used to get rid of skin discolorations. The European Union has since banned hydroquinone due to its potential carcinogenic negative side effects. They warn that inhaling residual hydroquinone aerosol from dirty vitamin E oil would be deadly.
“No vitamin E should be vaped regardless of its chemical structure,” explained Eliana Golberstein Rubashkyn, a New Zealand pharmaceutical chemist and the chief scientist of Myriad Pharmaceuticals.
The problem of Drug-involved vitamin E oil inhalation injuries have been documented dating back at least to the year 2000, but has now claimed the spotlight due to recent legalization.
Cases showed sickened lungs with a cloudy appearance on the left X-ray and cleared after treatment. The acetate structure of vitamin E oil, tocopheryl-acetate, will in time worsen lung function. Experts claim Tocopherols adhere to smokers lung’s liner fluid, called lung surfactant. The Lung surfactant allows oxygen to transport air into the body. Tocopherols mainly serve to prevent the necessary gas transfer from occurring.
“Vitamin E can integrate on membranes by creating a coating over the pulmonary surfactant layer,” explained Rubashkin.
It’s part of a class of “long-chain” oils that can adhere to and clump up your lung fluid, she said.
It’s like Saran-wrapping the inside of your lungs. In the end, the lung cells die from the damage and can initiate an uncontrollable immune system reaction like lipoid pneumonia.
This will happen when a smoker ingests high doses of tocopheryl-acetate, such as in formulations discovered in vape carts cut with the rancid oil. Damage can be done even at really low temperatures.
Why is Vitamin E Oil Allowed in Most Legal Markets?
Throughout the governments ongoing investigations, most of the vape carts seized in connection with lung deaths have been from the black market. The marijuana industry is doing everything it can to be on top of the vape lung outbreak. Many companies will fall if the government bans vaping devices and could be considering emergency new regulations.
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