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Vaping Illness Update: FDA Warns Public to Stop Using Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-Containing Vaping Products and Any Vaping Products Obtained Off the Street

FDA strengthens warning to public to stop using THC-containing vaping products and any vaping products obtained off the street.

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vapor from a vaping device

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Audience:

  • Consumers and family members of consumers who use vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), a psychoactive component of the marijuana plant.
  • Consumers who have used vaping products of any kind obtained off the street or from unknown sources.
  • Consumers experiencing symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain after using vaping products.
  • Health care professionals treating patients who use vaping products.

Purpose:

In its continued efforts to protect the public, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening its warning to consumers to stop using vaping products containing THC amid more than 1,000 reports of lung injuries—including some resulting in deaths—following the use of vaping products. The FDA is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local public health partners to investigate these illnesses as quickly as possible.

While the work by federal and state health officials to identify more information about the products used, where they were obtained, and what substances they contain is ongoing, the FDA is providing members of the public with additional information to help protect themselves.

Problem and Scope:

A majority of the samples tested by the states or by the FDA related to this investigation have been identified as vaping products containing THC. Through this investigation, we have also found most of the patients impacted by these illnesses reported using THC-containing products, suggesting THC vaping products play a role in the outbreak.

Recommendations for the Public:

  • Do not use vaping products that contain THC.
  • Do not use vaping products—particularly those containing THC—obtained off the street or from other illicit or social sources.
  • Do not modify or add any substances, such as THC or other oils, to vaping products, including those purchased through retail establishments.
  • No vaping product has been approved by the FDA for therapeutic uses or authorized for marketing by the FDA. The agency recommends contacting your health care provider for more information about the use of THC to treat medical conditions.
  • No youth or pregnant women should be using any vaping product, regardless of the substance. Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using these products. If you are an adult who uses e-cigarettes instead of cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
  • If you choose to use these products, monitor yourself for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health. If you are concerned about your health after using a vaping product, contact your health care provider, or you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Health care providers also can contact their local poison control center.

FDA Actions:

More information is needed to better understand whether there is a relationship between any specific products or substances and the reported illnesses. To help gather and analyze as much information as possible, the FDA is working closely with federal and state partners to identify the products or substances that may be causing the illnesses.

The FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Center is using state-of-the-art technology to analyze hundreds of samples submitted by a number of states for the presence of a broad range of chemicals, including nicotine, THC, other cannabinoids, and opioids along with cutting agents/diluents and other additives, pesticides, poisons, heavy metals and toxins.

No one substance has been identified in all of the samples tested. Importantly, identifying any compounds that are present in the samples will be one piece of the puzzle but will not necessarily answer questions about what is causing these illnesses.

Federal and state partners are following any potential leads. The FDA is committed to taking appropriate actions as the facts emerge and keeping the public informed as we have more information to share.

How to Report a Problem:

CDC and the FDA encourage the public to provide detailed information related to any unexpected tobacco- or e-cigarette-related health or product issues to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal.

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