Dissecting the Vaping Illness Mystery | WSJ

Dissecting the Vaping Illness Mystery | WSJ


– [Narrator] This is an x-ray of the lungs of one of the teenagers
hospitalized after vaping THC. All of this white cloudiness means there’s a lot of
inflammation in his lungs, and that’s making it
hard for him to breathe. So, what’s making his
lungs go from this to this? This patient is one in
an exploding pattern of vaping-related lung illnesses. The exact cause of the
illnesses is still unknown. We asked Dr. Melodi Pirzada
at NYU Winthrop Hospital about treating patients affected
by this growing outbreak, including the patient
with the inflamed lungs. – [Melodi] This is a 18-year old. – [Narrator] At first, she didn’t connect his condition to vaping. Given the fact that this is so new, how were you able to figure it out? – We were lucky to have
the mom find the cartridge and bring it to us, and that’s how we correlated
vaping to his condition. – [Narrator] Many patients
have reported vaping THC oils, which come packaged in
cartridges like these. These were given to Dr. Pirzada
by her patient’s family. Do you know where the patients are getting the cartridges to begin with? – They all say that their friend gave me, or, “I was at a party and
I just got my hands on it.” We don’t know where they are getting. – [Narrator] This
cartridge tested positive for vitamin E acetate, a cutting agent some
health officials suspect is behind many of the
vaping-related lung illnesses. TKO Products, a legal manufacturer of
THC vapes in California, has learned that
counterfeits like this one exist all over the country. According to TKO, even the counterfeits are being
knocked off on Chinese sites and sold in the US. Someone buying a TKO fake won’t know if it was
made by the same people as the last one they bought. Our reporting shows that even in states where cannabis is fully legal, the black market is proving
more resilient than expected. Dr. Brian Strasnick’s lab tests thousands of cannabis-containing products, including vaping oils, for
substances like pesticides and bacteria before these can be sold legally in Massachusetts. Right now, there’s a lot
of interest in testing because of the current string of illnesses that have been related to vaping. Can you talk a little bit about
your tests in that context? – There’s no mandate for
testing once the material is already in the
cartridges, so we don’t know what’s in the cartridges, and I don’t think anybody really does. – [Narrator] Health officials
are warning consumers against buying products off the street. But according to our reporting,
there’s also a booming market for fakes online, on
Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. Why would people wanna cut a
THC oil with vitamin E acetate? – I think one of the reasons
is that the consumers are under this impression
that the thicker it is, the more concentrated and the more potent, which is scientifically invalid. Vitamin E acetate or
propylene glycol is a thick, very viscous-type substance. The consumer looks at it and says, “It’s thick, there’s a bubble
there; it’s gotta be more potent.” That’s not the case. – [Narrator] Propylene
glycol and vitamin E acetate are common ingredients in
products like cosmetics, processed foods, lotions,
and dietary supplements. But when inhaled, these
substances may interfere with the way our lungs work,
even resulting in death. – If they are going to continue vaping, they should really stop THC vaping ASAP. – I think it’s irrational to think that people are gonna stop vaping. My suggestion to people
would be if you can stop, do stop. If you haven’t started, don’t start. – [Narrator] In the wake of
the reported deaths, large retailers like Walmart have
announced that they will stop selling all E-cigarettes, and
policymakers like Governor Charlie Baker in Massachusetts
have similarly responded by ordering a temporary ban on
all vaping products in the most sweeping prohibition on
E-cigarettes in the US. – I have a 20-year-old daughter. She said, “Of course,
Mom, everybody is vaping.” When I said, “Why do you think that is,” her answer was, “Because
teenagers think they are invincible it’s not
going to happen to them. It just happened to
another another person, but not to them.”


100 thoughts on “Dissecting the Vaping Illness Mystery | WSJ

  1. You name PG – Propylene Glycol when you meant PEG – Polyethylene Glycol.

    PG is absolutely safe to inhale, evident by the fact that it has been in ejuice from the start. At the start it was actually very had to find ejuice that contained anything but PG and aroma.

    But ok, let's not just look to vaping for saying that PG is safe, let's look to any indoor place using fog machines. Like nightclubs. The fog made in such venues is almost always from propylene glycol in a fog machine, and you walk around in there all night breathing it in. If it was so deadly, people would have been dropping dead since the introduction of the fog machine into night life partying!

  2. They literally say it’s the thc carts yet everyone be tripping about the vapes it’s a completely different thing this is just an excuse to make more profit from death due to people switching back to cigarettes

  3. yeah let’s stop selling safe and legal vape cartilages because people have died from using the fakes? funny how they make such a drastic move on e cigs when real cigarettes are a leading cause of so much death, but no we sell them no problem.

  4. Propylene glycol is safe to inhale. It has been in every e-cigarette since the first ones were developed a long long time ago. It's also in inhalers as another commenter wrote. Only counterfeit thc cartridges are using vitamin E acetate, which is NOT the same as propylene glycol. Tocopherol acetate is actually another name for vitamin E acetate if I'm not mistaken and it's used in a lot of cosmetics.

    Basically inhaling lotion or lip balm…

    However no e-cigarettes (esp. authentic mainstream brands) have been found to contain this ingredient, so there's no reason to worry if you buy thc cartridges or e-liquids/pods from a legitimate source.

  5. "we just have no idea what's going on here! Mystery illness! Protect your family"

    Then they point to the exact ingredient and the exact counterfeit epidemic that is linked to every one of the very few deaths.

  6. Good thing I quit last week🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️ I need to stop and I already did so I can make more money with no addiction and have a stress free life.

  7. Honestly it's sad how marijuana is literally turning into a cash crop more and more first it was just hemp and low grade then growers grew it and almost perfected it and now we have cut Vapes? This isn't coke we don't cut or trees like that

  8. Regardless of the information given it’s still prob bad to inhale anything besides air even though I agree it’s bc of the legal products

  9. They were showing a TKOcart that looks similar to me the gold tip one. Stay away from all THC oils . #StopSmokingCartridges2019

  10. Y’all do realize they use propylene glycol in inhalers and breathing treatments. I guess people with asthma gonna die I guess🤷🏻‍♂️

  11. Dissecting vaping!
    10 seconds into the video: We still know nothing of what causes this to happen.
    We just wanted to make a video about this topic with no facts. Just guesses.

  12. I'm glad WSJ is actually pointing out that most if not all of these illnesses are related to FAKE THC VAPES. Not normal vapes or real thc vapes. Every other news site is being so vague to push their anti vape/weed agenda showing pictures of regulated vape mods and normal pods and in the rare occasions they show thc pods they they don't specify the difference between fakes and real ones. Just to make it look like vaping in general is the problem. Cudos to the WSJ for pointing out the real problem. Now I'm not saying regular vapes and carts are good for you but they're not the main problem for this lung illness. My theory is that a major drug player up state cut a huge inventory of thc carts with some kind of oil and they're slowly making their way around the states.

  13. Please if you’re smoking cartridges from the black market or an unreliable source stop. I used to all the time and developed a pain in my chest whenever I would smoke it and my throat would feel like it was closing up and the wax tasted like soap and chemicals. If you don’t have a connect to real cartridges just smoke flower because it’s better than dying young. I only smoke Raw Garden now and I’m paying more for it but least I know it’s good clean stuff

  14. Smoking fake or real cartridges will mess your lungs up , doesn’t matter I’ve smoked STIIIZY legit cartridges and I automatically felt short of breath . My advice don’t smoke 🚭

  15. I’ve been smoking cannabis herb since 2014 until 2018 and from 2018 until today right now I smoke Thc oil cartridges… I’m still waiting for my lung to collapse

  16. I wish people would start realizing that it is only happening with THC carts. NOT ECIGS.
    I lived getting 30$ gram carts. But I haven’t bought one since all this happened. I get it. If I want a cart, I’ll go pay 80$ at the dispensary. But teens, and those who can’t afford it cannot get them at a dispensary. So figure that out.
    But leave ecigs alone. Idiots.

  17. if your cart has doesnt have the actual sticker that has the thc percentage and the lab test company the cart could be 99% fake

  18. Cool, so how’s the heroine war going? Oh wait there still isn’t one. These people love to hate weed, almost as if they have something to lose because of profits.

  19. I feel like some of these lawmakers need to understand the leading cause. It’s the fact that people who want to vape discreetly aren’t able to get their hands on safe products. One way that we can stop this issue is to surprisingly make it legal everywhere this in turn will only open up markets for government to be producing these products. If Governments do not step in the problem will only get worse

  20. Vaping "THC" carts in states that have not legalized cannabis is the equivalent to smoking spice/K2. It's just a bad idea. I told my boys when they first started that anybody can get empty carts and put whatever they want In them. This was way before people started dying and having health issues. Just smoke weed unless you're positively sure it's only thc In the cart and it's from a legal state and shop.

  21. The vape industry will be just as resilient in the black market as weed, if it were to become completely illegal. You can't make food grade flavors illegal to buy or even make them harder to get bc everyone uses them in the kitchen. You can't ban or restrict vegatable glycerin or propylene glycol bc of their vast array of uses in everyday life. Also, as long as tobacco is legal people will have access to freebase and salt nicotine. Vaping is here to stay. You can make fairly safe devices and coils in your bedroom and buy all those materials completely legally without any restrictions. Ordering vape stuff from china where the industry is booming rn would also be super easy with a ban. It's not going anywhere. The reason kids are still vaping is bc a lot of them aren't brainwashed like most adults by propaganda and actually do research for themselves then listening to tv reporters and journalist who have private interest based on what company work for. Nicotine is as safe as caffeine. Vegetable glycerin gets metabolised into sugars in the lungs. Propylene glycol gets turned into lactic acid. Water evaporates with every breath you take and people don't die in florida from breathing 100% humidity all the time. The only thing kinda in question in my mind is the flavoring, but even still flavored tobacco products have been around for decades with no ill effect atleast from the flavoring alone. If you go to places like korea they have flavored cigarettes. Combusting tobacco for nicotine is what's killing. People are just attacking the vape industry rn bc big tobacco is fearful of how big vaping could become. It could literally obliterate their industry and they'd be forced to just sell tobacco wholesale to vape companies

  22. 2:51 propylene glycol is not a thick liquid it's sad when people talk as if they are the real experts and manipulating the general understanding of vaping.

  23. You talked to a scientist… in a laboratory… specializing in the testing of thc products for vaping… yet you still somehow conflated vaping propylene glycol (an FDA approved FOR INHALATION, water soluble substance used in many types of inhalers and nicotine vaporizers) with tocopherol acetate. If this is intentional, shame on you for using journalism to push an agenda, while disingenuously appearing impartial. If it's an oversight, perhaps Wall Street Journal should stick to business related reporting.

  24. Uhhhh guy, PG is very thin. It's a flavor carrier, the VG is the thick part. Dude doesn't even know what he's talking about….

  25. I guess they forgot to mention how these teens have also been using E-CIG VAPES for years but sure just talk about the wax pens

  26. I find it interesting that the issue is due to counterfeit thc cartridges for the most part but they are banning e-cigs? Sounds more like the big cigarette cartels i mean companies are trying to wipe out the competition. By the way cigarettes kill people all the time, you dont see the government banning cigarettes

  27. Why are you talking about propylene glycol as if it's on the same level as vitamin e acetate? Propelyne glycol has been used in medical inhalants for decades without any health concerns, this whole talking point on how its, "safe for ingestion but untested for inhalation" is dishonest, stop spreading FUD.

  28. they still just call it vaping. It’s not regular vapes it’s carts and until news sources stop using vaping as an umbrella term everyone is going to believe its companies like juul and njoy causing the illness when it’s not. It’s taking a legitimately better option than cigarettes and demonizing it. It’s also spreading false information to those who read the headline and don’t watch the video or read the article.

  29. It’s karts off the dark web using too much vitamin E to don’t know how to properly mix shatter batter or shatter liquidizer and vitamin E is cut with it making you a oil high making it profitable for them

  30. Half a million people die every year from smoking. 7 people died from fake THC carts. A few hundred people get sick out of millions of vapers.

    Charlie Baker: Let’s ban all vaping.

  31. The doctors answer was very half assed.
    Propylene glycol is very very thin.
    Vitamin e acetate is thick.
    Also vitamin e is being added as it's a cheap way to dilute the product. China most likely just choose that as the first chemical to cut the carts with.

  32. Government be like: Oooooo war on drugs 2 starts now baby!! lets get those safe tested and regulated products off the market so the fakes can thrive! genius!

  33. Just use flower. This is so dumb, the doctor said he thinks people are making fake carts because they look more potent, no it’s because it’s cheap and unethical people want easy money, some education his schooling paid for. Goes to show how people who are uneducated about cannabis, should definitely not be talking about it.

  34. Yup it’s from people making thc oils in their garage with butane and putting them in counterfeit cartridges.

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