The actual cost of e-cigarette usage continues to reveal itself as reports of lung injury cases and deaths continue to rise. Scientists are diligently working to determine the cause of the illnesses, officials are seeking to ban products, and some tobacco companies are reconsidering their popular products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have dubbed the illness, “EVALI: e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury.”
Earlier this week, the CDC announced updated and confirmed numbers of EVALI cases and deaths. A total of 39 confirmed deaths have occurred in 24 U.S. states. Ages ranged from 17 to 75 years with a median age of 53. A total of 2,051 confirmed lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported by 49 states.
Just this Friday (11/8), the CDC reported a significant breakthrough in its investigation into this public health crisis. According to a news release from the federal organization, laboratory testing of lung fluid from 29 patients with EVALI from 10 states discovered vitamin E acetate in all of the samples. The release states that “this is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries.”
Some point to THC or nicotine as a cause of EVALI. However, THC was only in 82% of the samples and nicotine in 62%. The CDC is confident that they now have direct evidence of vitamin E acetate as a critical cause of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use. The investigation is ongoing and may reveal additional culprits.
Source: CDC, AP News (Video)