"For the first time, we have detected a potential toxin of concern," an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said of new evidence in the search for the cause of lung problems in those who vape. Researchers took fluid samples from the lungs of 29 patients and found vitamin E oil in all 29. That's not definitive as an official cause; for that matter, there could be more than one cause, the Wall Street Journal reports. But it's a major clue, which will lead to more studies. No other concerning substances were found in the samples. The CDC official called the results a breakthrough. More than 2,000 severe cases of vaping-related lung injuries have been reported nationally, per NBC.
Vitamin E oil, or acetate, earlier had been detected in vaping product samples, and health officials had raised the issue in September. It's used in products including food supplements and skin lotion, but appears to be problematic only when inhaled. The CDC has confirmed 39 deaths from the vaping-related illnesses that have launched the search for answers among health officials. The new findings, the CDC official said, "provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lung." (Juul is ending sales of its best-selling flavor.)