Early on October 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday that consumers should stay away from electronic cigarettes containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). In addition, consumers should avoid using all illegal e-cigarette products, whether they contain nicotine salts, tobacco or THC.
As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had identified more than 1,000 cases of e-cigarette-related lung damage in 15 states, including 18 deaths. Nearly three-quarters of the patients were male, while 80% were under 35 years old.
However, the age of deaths ranged from 20 to 70, with more women than men. Because of the limited information, CDC is unable to draw a definite conclusion about the cause of disease. Health officials believe that chemical exposure associated with oil-based additives may be the culprit.
Investigators believe that products containing THC are the most likely source of disease. The FDA points out that most cases, or more than 78%, involve electronic cigarettes containing THC. Only 17% of the cases indicated that they only used nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. The FDA still recommends that adults using Juul and other nicotine-containing e-cigarette products “stop smoking regular cigarettes” because there is evidence that these products are still safer than traditional tobacco products.
Since the onset of related cases in August, nicotine-containing e-cigarette brands such as Juul have received considerable attention. Juul’s products are critically popular among teenagers and people who have never smoked before. This led to a ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in several states in the United States. Juul also faces an upcoming federal ban on condiment e-cigarettes. President Trump called on FDA to intervene last month and issued a nationwide ban.
Because of the ban, many TV networks in the United States have stopped accepting electronic cigarette advertising, and Juul CEO Kevin Burns has resigned. In addition, the company is facing criminal investigation in California.