Vitamin E acetate, a popular additive used in vaping products, may be causing a national outbreak of illnesses and deaths related to e-cigarette use, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, said the discovery is a breakthrough in the investigation into the deaths.
There have been 39 deaths and more than 2,000 illnesses related to the vaping.
Vitamin E acetate was found in samples taken from 29 patients who were sick with vaping-related illness in 10 states. THC or its metabolites was found in 23 of 28 patients. Nicotine metabolites were found in 16 of 26 patinets.
Vitamin E acetate is “enormously sticky,” according to the CDC’s Dr. James Pirkle and “does hang around” in the lungs. Pirkle added that THC leaves the lungs faster, so it would be expected to see less samples with it.
New York health officials previously also linked Vitamin E acetate to vape-related illnesses.
“This does not rule out other possible ingredients,” Schuchat said. “There may be more than one cause.”