Looking for an explanation as to why there are a growing number of deaths from vaping, NBC News commissioned a leading cannabis testing facilities to test THC cartridges and discovered a horrifying fact: all 18 cartridges contained myclobutanil which can transform into hydrogen cyanide when burned.
In addition, 13 of the cartridges tested by CannaSafe contained the solvent Vitamin E, which can trigger severe lung damage when it is inhaled.
Antonio Frazier, the vice president of operations at CannaSafe, told NBC News, “You certainly don’t want to be smoking cyanide. I don’t think anyone would buy a cart that was labeled hydrogen cyanide on it.” The Daily Mail noted:
Hydrogen cyanide, also known as hydrocyanic acid, is a highly volatile liquid that is colorless or pale blue. It lowers the levels of oxygen in nearly every organ in the body including the brain, heart and lungs, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Hydrogen cyanide is rapidly absorbed by the lungs and can result in death within minutes if supplemental oxygen is not administered.
David Downs, a bureau chief for Leafly, told NBC News, “This all starts in China where you can get the empty cartridges both for the THC market and the nicotine market, as well as the additives, flavorings, and thickeners that are being put into these cartridges alongside the THC oil. It’s a very deep, mature, and advanced industry that starts in China and ends in our own backyard.”
The Daily Mail added, “As of Friday, 805 confirmed and probable cases have been reported, up 52 percent from the 530 reported last week with illnesses reported in almost every state.
On Wednesday, acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee:
FDA is not pursuing any actions associated with personal use of any vaping products, our interest is in the suppliers. But to be clear, if we determine that someone is manufacturing or distributing illicit, adulterated vaping products that caused illness and death for personal profit, we would consider that to be a criminal act … the 2019 NYTS preliminary data, as well as another study supported by NIDA, demonstrate a continued rise in the disturbing rates of youth e-cigarette use, especially through the use of non-tobacco flavors. In particular, these data show that more than a quarter of high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2019 and youth e-cigarette users cited fruit and menthol/mint flavors as being the most popular.
That’s why the President announced his support for the FDA’s intention to soon finalize a compliance policy related to flavored ENDS. This policy would prioritize FDA’s enforcement of premarket authorization requirements for non-tobacco flavors. FDA is not ‘banning’ flavors, as has been described in some news reports. Rather, FDA intends to enforce existing law that limits the marketing of such products.
This policy would not mean that flavored e-cigarettes could never be marketed. If a company can show through an application to FDA that a specific product meets the standard set forth by Congress, then the FDA would authorize that ENDS product for sale. FDA intends to prioritize enforcement action such that flavored e-cigarette products will be expected to exit the market unless and until manufacturers of these products provide scientific evidence demonstrating that marketing their products is appropriate for the protection of the public health.