A man smokes an e-cigarette.

Enlarge / A man smokes an e-cigarette. (credit: Getty | Picture alliance)

State and federal investigations into the puzzling burst of severe lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use—aka vaping—are focusing in on black-market and counterfeit products, according to a report by the Washington Post.

Unknown adulterants and dubious solvents—such as oils and diluting “cutting agents”—in vaping liquids are now the prime suspects behind the illnesses, which have struck at least 193 people in 22 states since June 28 of this year. One person in Illinois has died. Investigators say that in many of the cases people bought suspect products on the black market or in “pop-up” shops.

Solvents in counterfeit and black-market vaping liquids “can vary a lot,” an unnamed official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Post. The official added that solvents sold for mixing home-made vaping liquids may also be mislabeled.

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