Thank you for reaching out from The Associated Press with questions regarding the national vaping situation at hand. We want to be as transparent and helpful as possible to the public. So, we will be responding to your questions in writing, posting them on our website and social media to make sure the correct information reaches as many people as possible.
– Please describe your business and what you do/sell?
Connoisseur Concentrates creates flavoring products, made from natural and artificial ingredients. We do not handle or process cannabis, CBD or THC in any way, nor are any of our products sourced from them.
– Have you ever sold or marketed any products containing Vitamin E acetate?
Yes, we have. Our Clear Cut line of products contained Vitamin E acetate .
– If so, what ones? And when? Do you still sell them?
Clear Cut was sold for approx the last 4 months. We have been closely monitoring the illnesses in the vaping industry, and seeing that dilutants are one of many causes being investigated. We felt the right thing to do was stop the sale of all dilutants, including Clear Cut until we hear more news from the FDA and CDC.
– Why would one add Vitamin E acetate to a vape cartridge? What purpose does it serve?
The industry was in need of a substance/carrier to suspend CBD. As you know- all across the county health conscious Americans are looking to CBD products for assistance in their lives. CBD is a huge market and so is the demand for better ingredients and carrier agents. When creating a CBD vape cartridge, if you use over approx 35% CBD with a liquid carrier the CBD will recrystallize, causing the cartridge to become inoperable. The commonly used carrier is MCT oil, a coconut oil derivative. The issue with MCT is that it is very thin, and using it at the required 65% dilution ratio resulted in a thin liquid that would cause the majority of cartridges to leak and fail, due to the way todays vape cartridges are designed. There was an industry need for a thicker carrier and has been for years. Vitamin E mixed perfectly and displayed all of the characteristics that clients would want and manufacturers would need when creating these vape products, as well as passing all of the industry standards and testing requirements.
– You indicate in your open letter to Leafly that other companies are selling Vitamin E acetate and that it’s becoming increasingly popular. Why is this? What’s the appeal?
For years companies have struggles to manufacture CBD vapor cartridges that would remain stable and function without leaking. Vitamin E unlocked the ability for manufacturers to create stable solutions that worked with the vapor cartridge brands that customers wanted to use. The vapor cartridges that held very thin liquid solutions did not function very well. Once a solution was found, Vitamin E, companies realized that for $300 they could simply deconstruct, or reverse engineer their competitors product and offer it as their own, due to the simplicity of the formula. This lead to over 50 companies that we know of offering their own version of Vitamin E acetate under many different names. Even though Honey Cut started as a licensed brand and product selling Vitamin E acetate, Honey Cut soon became the name for any substance that was thick and clear and sold on the streets. China, being huge in the vape market, figured this out and started dumping cheap Vitamin E acetate labeled as Honey Cut to anyone who would buy it for whatever price they could get for it. As a company we did a large amount of research on the product before releasing it. In contrast, we suspect counterfeit Tocopherol Acetate or different versions of Vitamin E Tocopherols which can be harmful were marketed and sold under the generic name Honey Cut throughout the country.
– Why did you decide to pull all your dilutants from the market?
We have full faith in the CDC and FDA to deliver good information. If they believe there may even be the possibility of a problem with a product, we believe the right thing to do is stop sales and wait until a finding is issued. Our only goal is to provide a better product to the industry as it develops.
– To your knowledge, did you sell the Clear Cut to any OLCC licensees? If so, to your knowledge, did any of them include it in their vaping cartridges or other products?
Absolutely not on both questions. I want to be clear that at no time have we told anyone that the OLCC approved or disapproved our products, only that we entered into discussions about our product in the spirit of full disclosure. This issue has been misquoted numerous times, which is why all of our statements have been in writing and posted on our website, including the response to leafly which does not state OLCC approval, only ongoing discussions. The OLCC was very thorough on their questioning, and any licensee we contacted would not purchase the product without a full disclosure of ingredients and the ability to label them on the packaging as required by the OLCC. Any reports to the contrary are false. We sold no products to any party representing any licensed company in Oregon, nor do we know of any using different versions of Tocopheryl Acetate.
– Please provide an idea of the scope of the use of Vitamin E acetate in vaping products currently and the impact these concerns about safety could have on that market in the future.
Its everywhere. And it has been for years. A simple search of Vitamin E vape on Amazon will show vitamin companies using vape carts to deliver vitamins, including vitamin E. Constance Therapeutics has an issued federal patent on combining Vitamin E and THC and/or CBD and vaping it. They have been using this for years to treat stage 4 cancer patents with great success. Constance Therapeutics has reported that with over 5500 people using their program, vaping Vitamin E multiple times a day over the years, not a single one has developed lung issues.
Regardless of the outcome, the damage is done. This sheds light on problems we have seen more and more including; shady fake carts, dilutant/carriers with shoddy Chinese labeling, knock off packaging, synthetic THC in carts and contaminated distillate. This isn’t what this was supposed to be. While a vitamin may currently be at the center of this controversy, from our end, this product was supposed to enhance peoples lives. It was suppose to offer an alternative to the chemicals and poor products. The industry has a set of guidelines that manufacturers abide by in order to introduce products to market. These guidelines consist of: Rigorous third party lab testing, FDA guidelines, Third party peer review, manufacturing practices and regulatory boards. In our case, we put up our product and it passed all of those tests. We hope for the best for everyone but, no matter what the cause and outcome, the vape industry will be changed forever by this.
Thank you for your time in reaching our to our company for a statement.
CEO, Connoisseur Concentrates LLC