Seattle shop testing vape products amid spike in vaping-related illness across Washington

SEATTLE -- After a growing number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths have been reported across the country, pot shops and e-cigarette vendors are being flooded with questions from customers.

The rising concern is something that Ian Eisenberg, owner of Uncle Ike’s Pot Shops, has experienced first-hand.

“A lot of customers have come in questioning is this dangerous or is this okay?” Eisenberg explained.

There are currently 6 cases of severe vaping-related lung illnesses across Washington dating back to August.

On Monday, health officials in Snohomish County reported their first severe lung illness case related to vaping.

Across the country, doctors have now seen more than 500 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses.

It’s those numbers that Ian Eisenberg says made him take matters into his own hands. 

“We sent everything we had in for testing mainly looking for Vitamin E acetate,” said Eisenberg.

The Food and Drug Administration and The Centers for Disease Control are currently investigating the recent spike in vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths. Officials say they're working to figure out which products and substances have caused the recent health issues caused by vaping.

On Monday, lawyers filed the first vaping related injury lawsuit in Washington.

A Puyallup Tribal Police Officer says he got lipoid pneumonia from occasionally vaping THC products.

Charles Wilcoxen says on September 11th, he started wheezing severely after vaping that day. Days later his wife rushed him to the emergency room.

According to the lawsuit , he ended up spending three days in the hospital and more than a week away from work.

The FDA says most of the THC samples its collected from sick patients also contained significant amounts of Vitamin E acetate, an additive that doctors say can be dangerous when inhaled.

"They have many chemicals in them and then when you’re heating them up at a high temperature they turn into ultra-fine particles, they’re going deep into your lungs,” said Dr. Crystal Shen, a Pediatrician with The American Academy of Pediatric's Washington chapter. “So even if these chemicals are safe for ingestion or other uses like putting on your skin. We think they may be causing a lot of harm when you’re inhaling them.”

Eisenberg says after sending all of Uncle Ike’s vaping products in for testing they all came back showing no signs of Vitamin E acetate.

At pot shops in Washington, customers can ask to see lab test results called a certificate of analysis which shows what chemicals are in their vape pens.

However, pot shops in Washington are not currently required to test for Vitamin E acetate.

While the FDA and CDC continue investigating an exact reason for these lung illnesses doctors are recommending that people stop vaping.

“Because it’s been multiple cases all across the US, it’s not one specific company or one specific product, we recommend no one vape,” Dr. Shen explained.

The FDA is also telling vape users that it is prudent to avoid inhaling this substance.

Meanwhile, the number of these vaping related illnesses is only expected to rise.

The Washington Department of Health is currently going through hospital records to find other potential cases that may have been previously misdiagnosed and overlooked.