BOSTON - After months of vaping-related reported illnesses and an investigation into the possible causes, U.S. health officials have announced that they may have found a "very strong culprit."

“We are in a better place in terms of having one very strong culprit, “shared Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday, the CDC confirmed that the compound Vitamin E acetate appears to be the link between patients across the country who have died due to vaping-related causes. As of recently, vape manufacturers have been using Vitamin E as a thickener in vaping fluids.

Per the CDC.gov website, the Vitamin E acetate was found in fluid samples taken from the lungs of 29 individuals.

"Recent CDC laboratory testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (or samples of fluid collected from the lungs) from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all of the BAL fluid samples."

As reported by Boston 25 News, Vitamin E in the form of a pill, or lotions and oil to be used on the skin, is beneficial but inhaling the oil appears to create pneumonia and lung damage.

“Some of the cases with vaping induced lung disease have lung bite biopsies, this is a finding that some of them have this oil related pneumonia, “Dr. Frank Shembri stated.

An investigation into vaping products became a priority for the CDC, the FDA, as well as state and local officials following more than 2,000 reported illnesses and 39 deaths in 24 states.

Following the public health crisis, Gov. Baker implemented a 4-month state wide ban throughout Massachusetts on all vaping products back in September. He  has since urged those using vape products to stop until an investigation could be completed.

This month a superior court judge lifted the ban for medical marijuana patients, citing that the state overstepped its bounds. Medical marijuana patients will be able to purchase vape products again on Nov. 12.

Gov. Baker and his administration has since appealed the judge's ruling.

Image Via Wikimedia Commons