After the first deaths attributable to the use of the electronic cigarette and the first sick people, the investigation starts. The US state and federal authorities that are investigating the mysterious lung diseases related to e-cigarettes have discovered the same chemical in the marijuana samples used by people who have fallen ill in different parts of the country and who have used different brands of products in the last weeks: it is an oil derived from vitamin E, the so-called vitamin E acetate. The Washington Post writes.

Vitamin E is found in certain foods, such as rapeseed oil, olive oil and almonds. Derived oil is commonly available as a nutritional supplement and is used in topical skin treatments. It is not known as a harmful substance when it is ingested as a supplement or applied to the skin. But its molecular structure, according to experts, could be dangerous if inhaled.

Oil-like properties could be associated with the type of respiratory symptoms reported by many patients: cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. Illinois and Oregon recorded in the summer what are considered the first two deaths related to the electronic cigarette or, more likely, to inhaled products.

The last case concerns an 18-year-old girl who ended up in a coma due to severe lung damage caused by acute eosinophilic pneumonia. The doctor suspects that the cause of the disease is the electronic cigarette that she smoked for three years.

The story took place in the state of Utah, in the USA. Maddie Nelson, this is the girl’s name, started to feel sick earlier this year, but last month had severe back and kidney pain.