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Marijuana Enforcement Division considers ban on vape additives

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division wants to crack down after dozens of recent vaping-related illnesses nationwide.

The MED scheduled a public meeting in Denver on Tuesday to discuss its proposal to ban a short list of chemicals that may be used to thin the THC oil used in vape cartridges at both medical, and recreational pot shops.

That list includes the following: Polyethylene glycol (PEG), Vitamin E acetate, and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT oil).

If the proposed rules move forward Tuesday, they’ll go to the State Licensing Authority for official approval.

If the rules are approved, they’ll go into effect at the start of 2020.

KRDO crews spoke with a medical expert here in Colorado Springs to see what he thinks about the proposed changes.

“I like the idea. It’s a start,” said Kevin McQueen, Director of Respiratory Care at UCHealth.

McQueen says the substances can cause lipoid pneumonia and/or become carcinogens.

He says companies marketing vapes with these ingredients in them are stretching the truth.

“There’s a big difference between the word safe and safer. If they’re trying to say something’s safer than combustible cigarettes then there might be some chances of that,” said McQueen. However, he says they’re proven lung irritants and, therefore, not safe to inhale.

We asked McQueen if he could see the state taking action against nicotine vape providers, as well.

“That will be the next round of stuff I’m sure. Because we see a lot of the same chemicals that are in the THC are also in the nicotine based ones,” he answered.

As of Oct. 8, 1,299 lung injury cases associated with the use of vaping products have been reported in 49 states, according to the CDC.

Twenty-six deaths have been confirmed in 21 states.

Six states have moved to ban either nicotine or marijuana-infused vaping products to at least some extent, including Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington.

There were nine cases reported in Colorado as of last week, according to state officials. However, there have been no known vaping-related deaths in Colorado.

KRDO Only 2019