Number of vaping-related illnesses in United States has spiked, CDC says

Sunday, 22 Sep, 2019

More than 500 people have been sickened in an outbreak of vaping-related illness in the United States, health authorities said Thursday, as Los Angeles became the latest city to take steps to ban flavoured e-cigarettes.

The man, whose name was not released, was hospitalized with respiratory symptoms August 22 and transferred to Mercy St. Louis Sept. 4.

The total number of illnesses is up from 380 a week ago. "He started out with shortness of breath, and it rapidly progressed and deteriorated, developing into what is called acute respiratory distress syndrome".

We do not yet know the specific cause of these lung injuries.

"This recent case confirms that the risk for lung injury from vaping and e-cigarette use is ongoing in King County".

Anyone who uses e-cigarette products should not buy them off the street and should not modify these products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

Patients with the most severe cases wind up in the hospital with severely damaged lungs that often appear to be infected with pneumonia.

The man's lungs were unable to provide enough gas exchange, leading to heart failure and near cardiac arrest, according to a Mercy Hospital St. Louis news release.

The Federal Drug Administration has been using their criminal investigators to look into the rash of illnesses surrounding the use of vaping products, Mitch Zeller, the director of the Center for Tobacco Products for the FDA, said in a press conference on Thursday.

Seven of these cases, including this first death, have been confirmed using the case definition developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, like that found in tobacco, but some contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. People who do vape do need to be aware of the risks that are involved, and public health officials are still ascertaining what those risks are as new information comes in.

Officials say the woman reported vaping THC products bought from legal pot shops and nicotine products without THC. Kansas health officials announced a similar vaping-related death last week. "I urge Montanans to refrain from using e-cigarettes, considering the existing unknown health consequences", Holzman said.

Common symptoms reported include cough, shortness of breath or chest pain, while some cases have also described nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and abdominal pain, Schuchat said. Two-thirds of the cases are patients between the ages of 18 and 34, while 16% of the patients are younger than 18 years old and 17% are 35 years or older.