Black Market THC Cartridges Lung Illness


Since 2003 when Electronic Cigarettes were first discovered until 2019, there had been no reported cases of lung illnesses associated with vaping. Thats 16 years that vaping had a clean record with regards to health related incidents, and now all of a sudden we are in a crisis where there has been upwards of 1000 people diagnosed with lung illnesses in the US, and there has been a reported 21 deaths (as of the writing of this article) as a result.

When we say no health related incidents, we are referring to the usage of regulated vape devices and vape juice used in accordance to manufacturers specifications. This does not include misuse of devices which has been known to cause explosions by modifying the power source or purchasing unregulated devices through the black market which can cause the same issues. It also does not include improper storage of electronic cigarette batteries in which battery leads were open to being in contact with metal objects in a pocket or purse.


  • No other countries have had any reported lung illnesses or deaths outside of USA and Canada.
  • USA has had over 1000 reported cases of lung illnesses and 26 deaths as of Oct, 11th 2019.
  • Canada has had 1 person hospitalized due to lung illness in London, Ont.
  • Majority of individuals admit to vaping THC cartridges prior to first lung illness symptoms


  • If no other countries are reporting this, then we can assume the devices themselves are not the issue
  • Because of the extremely large amount of the illnesses are coming from the US, we can assume the product causing the issues is from the US.
  • If it is not the devices themselves causing the illnesses, then it must be the liquid used in such devices.
  • Majority of individuals admit to vaping THC cartridges prior to falling ill.
  • THC cartridges tested show one of ingredients to be Vitamin E Acetate Oil.
  • When inhaled, vitamin E Acetate oil can blanket the lung cells and basically suffocate them resulting in hypersensitivity pneumonitis and eventually death if not treated promptly.
  • Vitamin E Acetate Oil will not blend with regular nicotine vape juice as it is an oil and nicotine vape juice is water based, it just will not mix.

So why all of a sudden after 16 years is vaping causing such illnesses? Why are no other countries besides the US (majority) and Canada reporting lung related illnesses and or deaths? To answer these questions, we need to look at where the majority of these cases are being found, and that is in the US. Within the last year vaping THC has become quite popular, and with marijuana still being illegal in most states in the US, any THC cartridges available for sale are illegal unless purchased from a licenses dispensary. With that being said, there are many reputable THC cartridge manufacturers you can find online in the US that provide a quality product and have had success providing product to customers without issue and have made quite a name for themselves. It is these big brand names however that have been targeted by the black market to basically ride their wave and make as much money as possible without any regard for the health and well being of their customers.


With big names providing high quality THC cartridges with success and without incident, the black market quickly got involved by creating a sub par product and counterfeiting the packages of these big brand names to make sales. To increase profits, they use cutting agents to make the liquid inside THC cartridges less potent than advertised and stretch their supply to make more profits. By doing this though, the liquid would thin out and become more diluted. To combat this, they added what we know now as Vitamin E Acetate which is a viscous oil with a light brownish color. This worked well as it mimicked the look and viscosity of THC oil and was very cheap to buy. We now know that the lung illnesses and deaths reported have mainly been linked to these black market THC cartridges


Vitamin E acetate is typically found in skin care products as well as dietary supplements. It is also recognized as Alpha-tocopheryl acetate, tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol acetate. Vitamin E offers antioxidant properties that can help guard the human body’s cells against the impacts of free radicals, of which are created when the body transforms food into energy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Free radicals, which play a role in heart disease and cancer, also are manufactured when the human body is subjected to smoke and / or radiation. Vitamin E Acetate is generally recognized as safe for ingestion into the stomach and as a topical oil, however evidence shows that inhalation of this oil can cause lung cells to die because the oil coats the inside of the lungs preventing those cells from receiving proper oxygen. It is like saran wrapping the inside of your lungs which will eventually lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis and eventually death if not treated promptly.


It is important to note that nicotine based vape juices contain nicotine, flavourings and a specific ratio of vegetable glycerin to propylene glycol. This ingredient list has been a staple in the electronic cigarette industry since its inception and nothing has changed. Introducing Vitamin E Acetate into this ingredient list is simply not possible as Vitamin E Acetate oil will not blend with nicotine vape juice because it is an oil. It will literally float on top of the liquid. Also there is no reason for nicotine vape juice manufacturers to use Vitamin E Acetate as a thickener because they use Vegetable Glycerin to do just that. Vegetable glycerin, also called glycerol, is a clear, fatty liquid made from coconut, soy or palm oil. Glycerin occurs naturally in humans, animals, and plant matter; it mixes well with water and has a sweet taste.


We are truly saddened by the loss of life and people suffering as a result of peoples disregard for human life and the greed for money. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people who have fallen ill and to those who have passed and their friends and family. We pride ourselves on sourcing only the very best vape juices which have strict regulatory requirements and are thoroughly lab tested and free from toxic chemicals such as vitamin e acetate, diactyl and acetoin. We have never used vitamin e acetate in any of our juices and never will, there is no reason to do so.

E-Cigarettes are 95% safer compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes
Public Health England has stated that electronic cigarettes are 95% less harmful than conventional tobacco products. The electronic cigarette is an important tool to help reduce the harm associated with tobacco smoking.

Read the Public Health Englands stance on E-Cigarettes

If you are thinking of going back to smoking tobacco products, we invite you to take some time and research first.

Watch Brent Stafford from regulatory watch interview Martin Dockrell from Public Health UK

Also be sure to check out Dr Farsalino’s study where he provides a host of scientific based opinions which we highly recommend you reading

Click here for a direct link to Dr. Farsalino’s view on the recent THC vaping related illnesses. 

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