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'Wellness' Vapes Are All the Rage, But FDA Says Buyer Beware
  • Cara Murez
  • Posted December 10, 2021

'Wellness' Vapes Are All the Rage, But FDA Says Buyer Beware

“Fights off tumors and alleviates symptoms of chemotherapy," one vape's advertising claims, while another is touted as an "asthma remedy, ADHD remedy, and dementia treatment."

Don't believe the hype.

Despite claims that certain vaping products may alleviate health problems, there's no proof that they do -- and they may even cause health issues, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

So-called "wellness" vaping products that contain vitamins or essential oils are being sold illegally with unproven claims, the agency said in a news release.

The FDA has not approved any vaping products to treat or prevent health conditions or diseases.

"Inhaled products can be dangerous and even may trigger severe coughing, cause airway tightening, and make speaking and breathing difficult," the regulators warned.

"Also, there's no way to know if these 'wellness' vaping products contain ingredients or impurities that may cause or make these symptoms worse, or cause permanent damage, such as bronchiolitis obliterans (also called popcorn lung)," the statement continued.

People who have heart disease, diabetes, lung conditions -- such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- or a lung infection may be at greater risk of serious complications, the agency said.

Some e-cigarettes and other vaping products contain carcinogens and other harmful chemicals, including diethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze. These chemicals can be easily hidden in the "proprietary blends" as listed on the label.

Don't be misled by false marketing, the experts stressed. Businesses may label their products as dietary supplements, vitamins, all-natural, inhalers, infusers, wellness vapes or aroma therapies, but that doesn't mean they're safe. They may make false claims about improving mental clarity, treating tumors or improving asthma.

Red flags include words such as "scientific study," "miracle cure" and "guaranteed results." If a company really made a breakthrough, the news, researchers and the government would discuss it in depth, the FDA explained. Other red flags are claims supported by personal testimonies instead of published research or independent medical professionals.

The agency's advice: Talk to your health care professional if you are considering using a vaping product, especially if it's sold as a "wellness vape" or makes claims to treat medical conditions.

The FDA has received complaints about products being advertised and sold to minors and has issued warning letters to companies for illegally selling these vaping products with unproven health claims. The letters request that they take prompt action to address any violations of the law. If companies refuse to comply, the FDA may take action to prevent the products from reaching consumers.

You can report products you think may have caused you or someone you know to have a serious reaction or illness. But first, immediately stop using the product and then contact your health care professional.

To report the serious adverse event or illness, call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088, or fax the agency at 1-800-FDA-0178. Adverse events can also be reported to the product's manufacturer or distributor through the address or phone number listed on the product's label.

For a general, non-serious complaint or concern about these products, contact your state FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the risks of vaping.

SOURCE: U.S. Food & Drug Administration, news release

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