Cannabis website Leafly has published the results of their probe into vape rules following the EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury) debacle in which vaping-associated lung injuries killed 68 people and injured 2,807 across the United States during 2019 and 2020.
At the heart of this health crisis was a relatively new vape cartridge additive known as vitamin E acetate that unlicensed cartridge manufacturers had been using to thicken the cartridge oil and boost profit margins.
Leafly’s investigation found that more than a year after the crisis, not all states have explicitly banned vitamin E acetate, and no states have upgraded their THC vape cartridge testing requirements to the standard required for all nicotine vape cartridges in Europe and Canada (these tests can reveal heavy metals found in vapor from shoddy devices, or toxins from burning unsafe mixtures).
A third worrisome issue thrown up by Leafly’s investigation is that of mystery additives and flavors more generally — there are any number of food flavorings that can appear in vapes but none are approved for inhalation.
The report recommends that vape safety rules need upgrading to disallow anything non-cannabis until it’s proven safe for human inhalation.
Ideally this would be coupled with a process whereby all states create a banned additives list — as well as a rigorous and transparent process to decide which substances are added or removed from the list.
In the meantime, recommendations for consumers to minimize the risk of inhaling toxic vape additives include: