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Vape-related illnesses: What you need to know

Vape-related illnesses: What you need to know

Stories about vape-related illnesses and deaths have hit the headlines recently, with over 800 cases of respiratory illness and at least 13 deaths reported in America. In response the Trump administration has announced a ban on e-liquids, with US Health Secretary Alex Azar saying that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were planning to take all non-tobacco flavours off the market. The ban is not extended to tobacco or menthol flavours however. 

So what’s behind this spate of illnesses? 

Early indications show that an additive often used in black market THC vape cartridges could be the culprit. Vitamin E acetate (also known as vitamin E oil) is a popular new diluent thickener found mostly in illicit THC vape carts. It’s often used to make the product appear better quality than it actually is. 

Why is vitamin E acetate so dangerous?

Commonly found in corn and other vegetable oil, or made synthetically from petroleum, Vitamin E is the collective name for several similar types of chemicals called ‘tocopherols’. Chemists use various plant sources of tocopherols to extract vegetable oil, then these tocopherols are separated from the oil using a distillation-like process. Where a risk can come in is if trace food allergens such as nut or soy are left in tocopherol mixtures. It’s also possible for tocopherols to be created from non-plant matter, synthesised using  toxic petroleum-derived precursor chemicals - one of which, hydroquinone, has even been banned in the European Union because of its carcinogenic effects. The FDA in America has not followed in Europe’s footsteps, so the sale of hydroquinone is still allowed. Many believe that inhaling residual hydroquinone from cheap vitamin E oil could be behind the spate of vape-related illnesses hitting the USA. 

“No vitamin E should be vaped regardless of its chemical structure.”

Eliana Golberstein Rubashkyn, chief scientist, Myriad Pharmaceuticals

How can you vape safely?

Here at Urbanistic we take great care in choosing the best vapes and CBD products, stocking some of the most trusted brands on the market. We take health very seriously and wouldn’t sell any product that we wouldn’t use ourselves - we road test all of the products on our site before they go on sale, and can personally vouch for their quality. 

Vaping methods

There are many different ways to vape, aside from cartridges, and at Urbanistic we have all bases covered for both dry herb and concentrates


Dry herb vaporizers: 

Herbal vaping is a popular method, which is quite different to vaping e-liquids. Herbal vaping heats and releases the essential oils from the herb, releasing the active ingredients with no toxic by-products. There are a multitude of different herbs and blends that can be used, and we always recommend using organic and homegrown herbs wherever possible, as these combine the homeopathic benefits and therapeutic effect of natural plants. One of our favourite dry herb vaporizers here at Urbanistic is the Storz & Bickel Mighty which is both portable and powerful. This battery-powered vaporiser uses a patented combination of hot air convection heating and additional conduction, which ensures an efficient vaporisation from the very first draw.  

Extract vaporizers:

For those that enjoy vaping extracts, we have a range of portable vaporisers to suit your needs. Vaping concentrates is growing in popularity, as it is discreet and convenient. It goes without saying that extra care should be used when choosing which extracts to consume. As with dry herb, we always recommend using extracts made from organic herbs; and it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with the various different extraction methods and additives that are used for this kind of vaping. One of our favourite portable extract pens is the Puri5 GIG or GIG Pro which uses a coil-less ceramic bowl to deliver maximum flavour. Another option for those new to the world of extract vaping is the portable and cost-effective Harmony CBD Vape Pen, which is one of the cheapest and easiest to use pens on the market.   

Taking care of your vaporizer

Most of our vaporizers use heat and/or some sort of power source or battery, and should therefore be treated with respect and caution. Never leave a vaporizer unattended while active or charging; and we always strongly advise customers to read the manual before use, familiarising yourself with your product and its safety guidelines. If you do ever notice anything unusual about your device please stop using it and contact us immediately.


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