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CDC names cannabis products linked to vaping illnesses

CDC names cannabis products linked to vaping illnesses

Dank Vapes, TKO and Smart Cart are among the top marijuana vape brands most commonly linked to vaping-related illness, health officials announced Friday as part of their nationwide investigation of nearly 2,300 people who suffered lung damage from e-liquids that contain THC.

“It’s not likely that a single brand is responsible for this outbreak,” said Brian King, a senior Centers for Disease Control official on the vaping investigation.

Dank Vapes was the brand used by over half of the hospitalized patients nationwide, according to a report released Friday by the CDC, followed by TKO at 15%; Smart Cart, 13%; and Rove, 12%.

Dank is not a licensed product, it’s empty packaging that can be ordered from Chinese internet sites. Illicit vaping cartridge makers can buy the empty packages and then fill them with whatever they want.

The CDC also said Friday that the worst of the outbreak may be over. Preliminary data shows hospitalizations peaked in mid-September and have been declining since.

But cases are still coming in. So far, 2,291 cases have been reported this year — including 176 in late November. Every state has reported cases, and 25 states and the District of Columbia have reported a total of 48 deaths.

There have been three vaping-related deaths in Massachusetts, according to the Department of Public Health.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s controversial vape ban is set to be lifted on Wednesday, but he signed legislation last week to restrict sales of flavored tobacco products and vapes, making the Bay State the first to enforce such strict regulations.

CDC officials have gradually come to focus their investigation on black-market THC cartridges with vitamin E acetate, which is used as a thickener in vaping fluid. An analysis of about 1,800 of the hospitalized patients found that about 80% said they used at least one THC product.

The agency is recommending that people do not use any electronic cigarettes or vaping products that contain THC, especially those obtained from friends, family members or black market dealers.

But 13% of patients said they vaped only nicotine. CDC officials are continuing to look at nicotine-containing vapes, and to advise caution about all types of vaping products until the investigation is concluded.

Herald wire services contributed to this report. (c)2019 the Boston Herald

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