Vaping death toll in the US rises to NINE as Kansas man in his fifties dies from mysterious lung illness linked to e-cigarettes
- Latest victim was regular vaper but had underlying health issues, officials said
- He is second victim from Kansas after woman in fifties died earlier this month
- Number of people hospitalised due to vaping-related illnesses has soared to 530
A man in his fifties has become the ninth person to die from smoking e-cigarettes in the US as a vaping epidemic sweeps the nation.
The latest victim, the second from Kansas, died from a mysterious lung illness linked to smoking the devices and was said to have ‘underlying health problems’.
A woman over 50 with a history of e-cigarette use also died in the state earlier this month.
As of last Thursday, the number of people hospitalised due to vaping-related illnesses had soared to 530.
Nine people have died and more than 530 hospitalised due to a mysterious lung illness caused by vaping (file image)
Vitamin E acetate is suspected as a possible trigger for the mysterious disease – but it’s only been found in THC vapes, which some, but not all of the severely ill patients used.
This chemical may act like grease in the lungs, damaging the tiny sacs that fill with air.
The Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health officials are still investigating how e-cigarettes may trigger the illnesses.
The CDC said 530 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in 38 states in the US, up from 380 a week ago.
In the meantime they advise that anyone concerned about these illnesses not vape and cautioning against buying bootleg THC or CBD vape products off the street.
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.
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.
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.
The share of high school students using e-cigarettes has more than doubled over the past two years, with 27 percent reporting they had used an e-cigarette in the past month, according to preliminary federal data released last week.
Public Health England told MailOnline the deaths in America should not deter Britons from using the products in the UK.
Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead at PHE, told this website: ‘A full investigation is not yet available but indications are that the US cases have been linked to people using illicit vaping fluid bought on the streets or home-made, some containing cannabis products like THC oil or synthetic cannabinoids like spice, and others Vitamin E acetate oil.
‘This is not the same as using UK regulated nicotine products. Unlike the US, all nicotine containing e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and they operate the Yellow Card Scheme, encouraging vapers to report any adverse effects.
‘Public Health England’s advice remains that vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking.
‘Using a nicotine-containing e-cigarette makes it much more likely someone will quit successfully than relying on willpower alone – three studies this year have found them twice as effective as NRT alone.
‘But it’s important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances.’