Samples of 29 vaping lung injury patients in 10 states all contained one similar chemical, vitamin E acetate, according to the CDC researchers. This revelation is a major breakthrough for the CDC, the agency tasked with finding the cause of the outbreak of vaping lung injuries that have plagued the country over the past few months.
39 vaping lung injury patients have died so far, while another 2,051 have are being investigated, according to the CDC.
According to the CDC, “Vitamin E acetate usually does not cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. However, previous research suggests when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung functioning.”
Vitamin E acetate is a thick, oily substance that imitates the appearance of vaping liquids found in both THC and nicotine vaping products. The CDC believes that vitamin E acetate is used as a thickening additive to e-cigarettes. Because of its almost identical appearance to THC oil, it is also used as a sort of cutting agent in illicit THC vaping products.
The CDC was prompted to explore vitamin E acetate as being at least one of the proponents causing the vaping lung outbreak after numerous state agencies identified vitamin E acetate as the common substance found in products that had been linked to vaping lung injuries.
CDC researchers conducted a study of fluid taken from the lungs of 29 vaping lung injury patients, finding vitamin E acetate in all 29 samples. 82 percent of patients’ fluid contained THC while 62 percent of the samples contained nicotine, indicating that a majority of patients were vaping THC products, and most were also using nicotine as well.
Researchers looked for other common chemicals, mineral oils and plant materials found in the 29 patient samples but found nothing of concern.
The CDC now labels vitamin E acetate as a “chemical of concern” The agency still plans to research other possible hazardous materials that may also be causing vaping lung.