CDC: Certain chemical in some vaping products may be linked to illnesses, deaths

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it may have pinpointed the chemical that triggered the recent outbreak of vaping illnesses and deaths.

CDC Researchers say they detected Vitamin E acetate in lung fluid samples taken from 29 patients, including two who died. They say the chemical is sticky like honey, and clings to lung tissue.

Dr. Sameer Khanijo of Northwell Health says Vitamin E acetate is commonly added to black market THC vape products to make them last longer, which gives the seller more of the product to sell.

"We don't know what it does when it gets into the lungs, and the assumption is you're heating up this really thick substance, it's getting into aerosol form, you're inhaling it, and then when it's in the lungs, it cools down and the oily substance probably causes the lung damage that we're seeing in these patients and that's probably why people are getting so sick so quickly," says Dr. Khanijo.

So far, 40 people have died and more than 2,000 people have been sickened nationwide from vaping-related illnesses.

Laurie Ann Davis, of Bethpage, says her 19-year-old son is one of the people who was sickened. She says the CDC's finding are a good first step, but she says it's only the tip of the iceberg.

"I think more things are going to show up now. Now it's going to be a chain of different things. That it's not only THC, that there's so many other things with the nicotine and the actual apparatus itself. This is just the beginning of it. It's not giving me any relief at all," says Davis.

The CDC says there is still more work to do and it is continuing to test for a wide range of chemicals.


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