Vaping-related lung illnesses confirmed in 33 states: 6 things to know

As of Sept. 6, authorities have reported 450 confirmed and suspected cases of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S., along with five deaths, according to The Washington Post.

 Six things to know about the illnesses:

  1. Reports of vaping-linked illness have dramatically increased this year, despite more than a decade of e-cigarette sales. The first illnesses sprouted up in April, affecting 53 individuals in Illinois and Wisconsin. Most patients required hospitalization, and about one-third were placed on ventilators.

  2. Early symptoms typically include coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Other reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and weight loss. Many victims are diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening condition in which fluid builds up in the lungs and prevents oxygen from circulating in the bloodstream.

  3. Illinois health officials reported the nation's first vaping-related death Aug. 23. Between Sept. 2 and Sept. 6, health officials reported one additional death each in Oregon, Indiana, Minnesota and California. Authorities say all victims who have died were adults.

  4. Health officials are not sure why the vaping-related illnesses are just now emerging.

    "We're all wondering if this is new or just newly recognized," Dana Meaney-Delman, MD, incident manager of CDC's lung injury response team, told The Washington Post.

  5. Officials also still don't know the exact cause of the illnesses. The FDA found the same vitamin E-derived oil in marijuana products vaped by multiple people, but officials are hesitant to pin the illnesses on it. Some victims said they only vaped nicotine products, and no specific vaping products are linked to all cases.

  6. While long-term consequences related to e-cigarette use remain unclear, the CDC recommended people stop vaping until the source of the illnesses is identified. 

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