The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that researchers investigating the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses found the same chemical compound — vitamin E acetate — in the lungs of 29 vaping illness patients from 10 states across the country.
“This is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries,” the CDC writes on their website’s page dedicated to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs.”
Vitamin E acetate has previously been identified as a product used in the production of black market cannabis products — generally from “informal sources like friends, or family or in-person or online drug dealers” — as an inexpensive additive or a means of cutting the drug to extend the life of a cartridge.
Officials note that while vitamin E acetate is associated with the illness (which so far as left 39 people dead and at least 2,051 reported cases as of November 5, 2019, according to the CDC), researchers have yet to “rule out contributions of other chemicals of concern to EVALI” because a few reported cases claim to only be using nicotine products.
Officials shared their findings in a report released on Friday that once again repeated the agency’s warning that people avoid using e-cigarettes and vaping products with THC in them. The CDC has also repeatedly said that they recommend people just not vape or use e-cigarette products in general.
More troubling for parents, as the legal and illegal vaping market works to target younger users , there’s reports as of 2018 of one in four high school students reporting vape-use — particularly using fruity and minty products — during the month of the survey. While there’s rumblings of movements to take those particularly egregious child-targeting vape flavors of the shelves, the concern for young people, who were raised to think of vaping as a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking (which, to be clear: nope, not at all the case), remains all too real.
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