CDC says vitamin linked to vaping-related illness and deaths

WATCH: CDC says vitamin linked to vaping-related illness and deaths

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Last year there were a string of illnesses and deaths thought to have been linked to vaping.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that those deaths were not linked to vaping itself, but a vitamin known as vitamin E acetate.

FOX13 spoke to a local vape shop owner who said he’s happy this latest news is now out.

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Between August and September 2019, the country saw an outbreak in vaping-related illnesses and deaths.

As many product users started to fear the recent trend, Todd Donks started to see a decline in his business at Zook Vaper.

“By September, I was down about 34 percent," Donks told FOX13.

He said he kept a close eye on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s initial investigation.

“As we saw the lung illnesses grow, the hospitalizations grow, we knew exactly what it was at that point," Donks said.

Donks pointed out that it wasn’t the actual contents of vaping products sold in stores, but a chemical called Vitamin E acetate found in what’s called THC cartridges purchased online.

“That was the culprit that they saw very early on.”

The CDC officially came out with those findings on Tuesday.

According to their findings, vitamin E acetate was found in lung fluids samples collected from 48 of 51 EVALI patients.

The report said no other toxicants were found in those fluids.

So, what exactly is vitamin E acetate?

According to the CDC, it's a common vitamin found in vegetable oils, cereals, and other foods as well as cosmetic products like skin creams.

The CDC said it’s not harmful to ingest the vitamin, but when it’s inhaled, that’s when it becomes harmful to your lungs.

Donks knew from the beginning it was never the nicotine based products that he sells.

“This is all registered with the FDA. They’re not allowed to change a constituent, an ingredient or even the flavoring so, we knew that everything was still the same.”

The CDC said vaping related illnesses have been declining since September of 2019, with vitamin E acetate as the main culprit for the illnesses and deaths.

For more information about the CDC’s findings, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html