39 deaths and more than 2,000 lung diseases due to e-cigarettes have been registered by health authorities in the USA so far. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reportedly identified the cause. There is "direct evidence" that an oil derived from vitamin E has caused lung disease in e-cigarette consumers, said CDC Deputy Director Anne Schuchat.
Accordingly, the chemical was detected in all 29 diseased patients whose lung fluid was examined. Schuchat described the findings of the investigation as a breakthrough. So far no other potential toxins have been found in the examined patients.
The CDC said it would need to complete its final investigation before confirming vitamin E oil as the definitive cause of lung disease. It is still possible that more than one substance has caused the diseases.
E-cigarettes increasingly popular
In the US, e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with adolescents. A government-mandated survey this week found that more than five million students aged between eleven and 18 had consumed e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. In the US, all tobacco products have a minimum age of 18 years. However, 18 states and Washington DC have already raised the minimum age to 21 years.
Electric cigarettes, in which nicotine-containing liquid is evaporated, have gained enormous popularity in recent years worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of users has risen from seven million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018. The grasp on e-cigarettes is attractive to many smokers because it is associated with the vaporizing process of cancer exposure want to escape traditional smoking.
Trump wants to raise minimum age
The day before, US President Donald Trump announced that he would raise the minimum age for buying e-cigarettes from 18 to about 21 years. "We have to take care of our children," said the US president. At the same time, Trump emphasized the need to pay attention to jobs in the growing e-cigarette industry.
The US government had announced in September a ban on flavored liquids for e-cigarettes. As it now seems, the e-cigarette industry may have influenced this position through intense lobbying.