Out of the 29 samples, 82% contained THC and 62% contained nicotine, the CDC said.
There is still more work to do and the CDC said it is continuing to test for a wide range of chemicals.
Researchers took fluid samples from the lungs of 29 patients and found vitamin E oil in all 29. Other toxins were "notably not detected", Dr. Schuchat said. "There may be more than one cause". But investigators have been reluctant to pin the blame on vitamin E acetate, noting that not all illness-related products have turned up the additive. Nicotine was detected in 16 of 26 patient samples. Pirkle said it wouldn't be unusual for THC to be absent from some of the samples because it leaves the lungs faster. THC was found in 23 of the lung fluid samples, which came from 10 states, that were tested by the CDC.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there's been a breakthrough in the investigation into the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries that has led to the deaths of 39 people and sickened more than 2,000 others. The CDC also tested the samples for other chemicals commonly found or added to THC products, like mineral oil, terpenes and more, but none were detected in the samples.
While the CDC's initial warnings included telling people to avoid "e-cigarettes", they have finally updated their message to state that by e-cigarettes they really mean vaping products, and that right now they're specifically concerned about THC vapes. It's not known to cause harm when swallowed or applied to the skin, Schuchat said.
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Numerous vaping products linked to illnesses and deaths were purchased from bootleggers or other non-authorized dealers.
Vitamin E acetate is not found in Juul products, for instance, though it's not yet clear what products besides those bought on the black market might have been using the additive, believing it to be harmless.
"To me what's important here is both what they found, and what they didn't find" said Scott Becker, head of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. In Illinois, she said, they had not had any cases associated with the state's medical marijuana program.
Doctors still don't know how to treat the illness that has been dubbed "EVAL" (short for 'e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury) beyond supportive therapy like putting patients on respirators and, perhaps, steroid treatment. States have reported at least 40 deaths.
US health officials have been sounding the alarm amid a nationwide outbreak of serous lung illnesses linked to vaping, and have raised concerns about the use of electronic smoking devices, particularly among youth.