New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said Monday he is ordering the state health department to issue subpoenas to three companies the department has identified as selling substances linked to the mysterious vaping-related lung illnesses that have sickened hundreds of people across the country.
The companies are marketing and selling “thickening agents” that can be used in black market vaping products that contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that produces the high. Dealers have been using thickening agents to dilute THC oil in street and illicit products, industry experts said. These thickeners are being marketed and readily available on the Internet “as a cheaper, safer alternative that does not negatively impact flavoring or odor of existing products and can be used to cut vape products to any level of THC,” the governor’s office said in a news release.
New York state’s lab obtained samples of thickeners from three companies and determined they are “nearly pure” vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E. Federal and state authorities have identified vitamin E acetate as a potential clue in the unfolding mystery because it is a common element in cannabis products that have been collected from patients who have fallen ill.
Investigators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have found the oil in cannabis products in samples collected across the United States. [Read More @ The Washington Post]