FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found more evidence from animal studies linking vitamin E acetate in vaping liquids to deadly lung damage in people who use electronic cigarettes.
Vitamin E acetate is sometimes used in vaping liquids with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Since August, there have been more than 2,800 U.S. cases of EVALI (e-cigarette- or vaping-associated lung injury), resulting in 68 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previous CDC research found that inhaling vitamin E acetate was strongly associated with EVALI, and this study offers new evidence in support.
"We show conclusively that when vaped, vitamin E acetate, which is often used as a cutting agent in e-cigarette liquids containing THC, can reach the lung and cause severe damage," said study team leader Yasmin Thanavala, a professor of immunology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
Thanavala and colleagues tested mice for several markers of lung injury and found that exposure to vitamin E acetate resulted in higher levels of protein in lung fluid as well as increased numbers of immune-response cells in the lung itself.
The results provide further evidence that inhalation of vitamin E acetate causes EVALI, the researchers said. However, tests on animals may not produce the same results in humans.
The findings were outlined Feb. 26 in a research letter in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The results provide important information for both the general public and the medical community, according to the researchers.
"Our work reinforces how important it is that people take great caution in what is being vaped and the source of the liquids they are vaping," Thanavala said in a Roswell Park news release.
"And I hope medical professionals will be sure to ask their patients not only whether they are smoking cigarettes but also whether they are vaping -- and what they are vaping. Because we need to do everything we can to prevent others from developing EVALI," she said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on vaping and lung damage.