As cases of vaping-related illnesses reach 2,051, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced a “breakthrough” in the search for a cause — the first identified toxicant: vitamin E acetate.

The news comes in a study released Friday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which analyzed fluid from the lungs of 29 patients with e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI) in 10 different states. While the majority of those analyzed tested positive for either THC (82 percent) or nicotine (61 percent), the only substance to be “universally detected” in every sample was vitamin E acetate.

“These new findings are significant because for the first time we have detected a potential toxin of concern,” Anne Schuchat, MD, principal deputy director of the CDC said on a call with reporters Friday morning. “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs and the samples reflect patients from states across the country to date.”

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