U.S. Health Officials Warn Against Vaping Following Lung Illness Surge

Henrietta Strickland
September 10, 2019

At least three people have died in connection to illness caused by vaping - one person in IN, one in IL and one in Oregon.

The CDC said the total count of confirmed cases of illness linked to vaping remained at 215, the same as its update last month, but a number of other cases of lung illnesses remained under investigation.

IN health officials on Friday confirmed the state's first death from a vaping-related respiratory illness, bringing the national toll to three, after two such deaths in IL and in Oregon.

The agency said an IN resident died due to a severe lung injury linked to a history of e-cigarette use, also commonly referred to as vaping.

A good proportion of those afflicted are teens or young adults who were previously healthy. Among the patients that have been interviewed by investigators, all reported they had been vaping illicit THC products.

Three deaths have been confirmed, authorities said, and another is being investigated.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said some type of chemical exposure is likely associated with the illnesses, but more information is needed to determine the exact cause.

ISSUE: The FDA is providing consumers with some information to help protect themselves while the work by federal and state health officials to identify more information about the products used, where they were obtained and what substances they contain is ongoing.

It has been reported that a substance called vitamin E acetate has been identified in numerous marijuana products belonging to those afflicted, including vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E. The FDA is now analyzing more than 120 samples collected from all over the country for a wide range of chemicals.

Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said in Friday's briefing that the agency now had 120 samples of e-cigarettes available for testing and that "no one substance or compound, including vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all the samples tested".

As investigations continue, health officials are also reminding e-cigarette users to not buy vaping products off the street or to modify them.

The first case of the mysterious lung illness, in IL, came in April, indicating that the syndrome emerged earlier than the mid-June date that has been often cited by federal officials as the time the afflictions began.

That's a critical distinction in the OR case, according to the American Vaping Association, which blamed the recent spate of lung illnesses on illegal vape pens that contain THC.

According to health officials, patients have experienced symptoms including difficulty breathing and chest pain before being hospitalized.

It's the first death tied to a vaping product bought at a licensed marijuana dispensary.

"We just want people to be aware that there are risks associated with vaping", Kowalik said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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