The Washington State Board of Health today voted to ban an additive contained in vaping products that they believe could be responsible for a rash of lung injuries reported nationwide.
The additive is called vitamin E acetate. It's used in many vaping products, often as a thickening agent.
At a hearing in Spokane Monday, the health department’s Kathy Lofy described how CDC testing found the compound to be a common element in samples of fluid collected from lungs of 29 patients in 10 states with vaping-associated lung disease.
“All 29 patients had samples that tested positive for vitamin E acetate, and this was a significant finding as it was the first time a potential toxicant of concern had been identified in biological samples from patients as well as the site of the injury,” Lofy said.
But banning the additive from vaping products is going to be complicated, according the Spokane Regional Health District Chief Bob Lutz, because currently not all vaping or cannabis shops are even aware that many of their products contain vitamin E acetate.
“But right now there isn’t any requirement for any producer or any small shop to have packaging that says these are the following ingredients. Hopefully the fact we are saying there is now a law in effect that no product can be sold or offered for sale, manufacturers or vendors are going to now ensure as best they can, these products, that if they don’t know they are going to err on the side of caution,” Lutz said.
Lutz says the ban will likely go into effect on Wednesday. He says the health department and liquor and cannabis board will now coordinate how testing of all the vape products for sale can be conducted to look for vitamin E acetate.