THURSDAY, Sept. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The number of confirmed or suspected severe lung illnesses linked to vaping has risen to 530 cases across 38 states and the Virgin Islands, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.
"Although the investigation continues, no consistent electronic cigarette or vaping product, substance, additive, or brand has been identified in all cases, nor has any one product or substance been conclusively linked to lung injury in patients," Anne Schuchat, M.D., principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a media briefing.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration now has more than 150 vaping product samples tied to these cases and is analyzing them for any potential clues, said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. The investigation has been hampered by the fact that there are so many different vaping products on the market being used in many different ways, Schuchat and Zeller explained. There is also the possibility that some people have been sickened by exposure to more than one type of product, Schuchat said.
One potential culprit is vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate is typically available as a dietary supplement and skin treatment, and it continues to be found in some of the samples, Zeller said. But Zeller added that "our laboratory analysis continues to show a mix of results. There's no one compound, ingredient, constituent -- including vitamin E acetate -- that's showing up in all of the samples tested."
Health officials particularly warn against buying any vaping products off the street, especially if they have been laced with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Zeller said. But again, THC products have not been involved in all the cases, Schuchat said. Some patients have used products containing THC and others containing nicotine, while some have only used nicotine products.