On Nov. 8, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a breakthrough in their investigation of the outbreak of vaping related illnesses. The investigators stated that vitamin E acetate -an additive in e-cigarette products- was present in all 29 patient lung fluid samples that they tested.
What does this mean?
Dr. Ann Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC, reported that this breakthrough means they “have detected a potential toxin of concern,” and that “these findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs.” Although vitamin E acetate has not been named as the definitive culprit behind the vaping-related lung injuries, this is the first time that investigators have detected a potential chemical of concern.
Since March, the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses has grown rapidly. According to the most recent CDC reports, the vaping-related lung injuries have sickened more than 2,000 people and have resulted in the deaths of 39.
The investigation into these vaping-related illnesses is underway. While this investigation is ongoing, federal and state public health officials urge consumers to avoid vaping. Additionally, the CDC warns that ecigarettes should not be used by youth, teens and pregnant women.
If you currently use or have recently used an e-cigarette or vape pen and experience breathing difficulties, chest pain or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention. For more information about the risks of vaping, please consult your doctor.