Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Anne Schuchat, said there was "direct evidence" that an oil derived from vitamin E caused lung disease among e-cigarette consumers.
As Live Science reports, the chemical has been detected in 29 diseased patients whose lung fluid has been studied.
"This is the first time we have discovered a potentially worrying chemical in samples from patients with these lung diseases," Anne Schuchat said. The findings she described as a breakthrough.
However, as the CDC said, "final investigations" are still pending. Only then can the vitamin E oil be confirmed as the definitive cause of lung disease. It is still possible that more than one substance has caused the diseases.
Vitamin E is actually a collective term for fat-soluble substances with antioxidant effects. Originally called "fertility vitamin", it comes in a variety of foods, including oils, nuts and wheat grain, however, can be dangerous when inhaled because of its molecular structure.
E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with young people. The products that evaporate nicotine-containing liquid have gained tremendous popularity worldwide in recent years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of consumers increased from seven million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018.
Many smokers see in e-cigarettes, inhalers and vaporizers an alternative to the classic tobacco cigarette, because they want to reduce the risk of cancer through traditional smoking with the evaporation process.
Donald Trump and the US government had already announced in September a ban on flavored liquids for e-cigarettes (TAG24 reported), but at the same time stressing that care should also be taken to secure jobs in the growing industry. It can not be ruled out that intense lobbying work may have been taking place behind the scenes.