E-cigarettes in Korea contain vitamin E acetateA nationwide investigation has found potentially harmful chemicals including vitamin E acetate in e-cigarettes sold in Korea.
Vitamin E acetate is the substance now thought to be behind thousands of cases of respiratory disease and more than 40 deaths in the United States.
However, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, was not detected in the 153 different e-cigarette brands inspected by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, according to Rep. Kim Soon-rye of the opposition Liberty Korea Party.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified THC-containing products as the most commonly reported products used by patients suffering vaping-associated lung disease. Vitamin E acetate, however, was the only potentially dangerous substance found in every sample in the United States.
“While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other chemicals of concern,” the U.S. agency noted on its website. “Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak. “
Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety launched an inspection in September when the government released health warnings related to vaping.
The regulator looked into seven potentially harmful chemicals: THC, vitamin E acetate, diacetyl, acetoin, 2,3-pentanedione, propylene glycol and glycerin.
While THC was not found in the samples, every other chemical is contained in the tested e-cigarettes including Juul and KT&G’s Lil.
“All products are not found to contain THC,” said a source from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. “But vitamin E acetate and other flavoring agents were found.”
The ministry is expected to announce the full results of the investigation as early as this week.
Rep. Kim said that the government should have taken action earlier.
“The investigation was belatedly conducted, because the ministry delayed it despite a call for action at the beginning of this year,” the lawmaker said.
BY JEONG JONG-HOON, PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]