US cases of vaping-linked illness surge to 530, CDC reveals as scientists search for cause of ‘lung disease’ that’s killed 7
- Another 150 people have developed vaping-related lung illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday
- A total of 530 people, the majority of whom are under 25 are ill from vaping
- Cases have been reported in 38 states and one US territory
- A vitamin E-derived oil may be to blame in cases where people used bootleg THC or CBD oils, but the exact cause of the illnesses on the whole remains a mystery
Over 150 additional people in the US have been sickened by vaping, bringing the total to 530 cases, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures.
The sharp increase occurred in just a week, surging over CDC’s previous announcement on September 11.
So far, seven people have died of the mysterious lung illness that Harvard University scientists have dubbed a ‘new lung disease.’
Cases have been reported in the majority of US states – 38, plus one territory – and over half of the patients are under 25.
Vitamin E acetate is suspected as a possible trigger for the disease – but it’s only been found in THC vapes, which some, but not all of the severely ill patients used.
The CDC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health officials are still investigating how e-cigarettes may trigger the illnesses, but in the mean time they advise that anyone concerned about these illnesses not vape and cautioning against buying bootleg THC or CBD vape products off the street.
The number of Americans sickened by vaping has surged to 530, an increase of 150 cases in just a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest figures
It is unclear what any of the people who have died were vaping.
Illnesses are most common among men, who account for 72 percent of the confirmed cases.
Vaping-related illnesses have affected Americans of all ages, but are more common in younger people who are not usually prone to lung disease.
Young adults between 18 and 34 account for a worrying 67 percent of cases and 16 percent of the vaping illness victims are under 18.
‘We are recommending people consider not using e-cigarettes,’ CDC officials said during the Friday briefing call.
CDC officials said that many but not all of the reported and confirmed cases involved both THC – the psychoactive chemical in marijuana – and nicotine vaping.
Michigan and New York have enacted bans on flavored e-cigarettes to discourage young people from using the devices.
Health officials in Oregon said the person who died there had been using a TCH vape pen.
During a conference call between state health officials and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), earlier this month, investigators said they’d found a chemical called vitamin E acetate in almost all of the samples of THC e-cigs they had tested.
This chemical may act like grease in the lungs, damaging the tiny sacs that fill with air.
Officials at the CDC are now working with health departments in 33 states to determine how e-cigarettes are triggering these illnesses.
In most, if not, all, of these cases, what begins as shortness of breath and chest pain progresses to coughing, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, fever and weightloss.
Patients with the most severe cases wind up in the hospital with severely damaged lungs that often appear to be infected with pneumonia.
Sometimes they have to be placed on ventilators, in medically-induced comas, or worse.
According to the CDC, lung illnesses seem to have resulted from vaping both cannabis and nicotine of different flavors.
Some of the hospitalized patients reported using bootleg e-cigarette liquids that they purchased on the street, prompting the health agency to warn Americans against these products.
Two people have died in California. One person has died in each Oregon, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois.
The CDC also advised that anyone who isn’t already a nicotine user to stop vaping – especially if they are young, pregnant or sick.