Recent updated report shows cause of vaping-related illnesses

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During the past year, there were hundreds of reported illnesses and several deaths related to vaping, and many blamed it on flavored e-cigarettes.

Multiple politicians had discussions about banning vaping all together as a way to fight back, but a recent and updated report by the Texas Department of State Health Services says it was caused by something else.

RELATED: North Texas elderly woman 1st vaping-related death reported in Texas

Cameron Hopfe is the co-owner of Vapor Austin and says he never expected all vaping to be linked to so many illnesses and several deaths.

“It was a total shock. I mean, we were doing really well and then just mid-summer, out of nowhere, everything just kind of plummeted,” said Hopfe. 

According to an updated report from DSHS, there have been 244 reported vaping cases, many reported during the summer months.

“We really saw the peak in August and in September. The really big explosion happened in August and that’s when we and everybody else started tracking it,” said Chris Van Deusen with DSHS.

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Since then, Van Deusen says there haven’t been as many cases reported.

“It definitely has tapered off,” said Van Deusen. 

Through those cases, research has revealed what was causing these people to get so sick.

“The big link for most of them is this Vitamin E acetate. It was found both in products that were tested from people who got sick as well as in their actual, you know, fluid from their lungs,” said Van Deusen.

RELATED: Vitamin E acetate investigated as possible link in vaping-related illnesses as reported cases double

Van Deusen says Vitamin E is basically just an oil that has been mixed with THC that when inhaled can cause multiple problems. 

Hopfe says Vitamin E is not sold in vape shop products.

“We have no Vitamin E oil in our products. The whole Vitamin E oil was THC products on the black market. They were using that to cut their product and make it more profitable,” said Hopfe.

RELATED: Vaping-related lung injuries on the rise in Travis County

Vapor Austin has started to see e-cigarette sales slowly level out.
            
As for health officials, they will continue to monitor cases that come in.

“I think vaping is still an issue in Texas so whether or not this is happening, we know that vaping has effects whether it’s THC, whether it’s nicotine, and particularly on young people,” said Van Deusen.

To read the full report, click here.

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