Vaping-related lung illnesses double in one week

State and federal officials are now investigating up to 354 possible cases of vaping-related lung illnesses in 29 states, almost double the number reported last week, according to The Washington Post.

The surge in cases is likely due to increased public awareness, said an official from the CDC, which is leading an investigation into the disease. Federal and state authorities advise all Americans to stop vaping until the illnesses' cause is identified.

Investigators believe the cause is linked to adulterants in vaping products that contain THC, an ingredient in marijuana, and to adulterants in nicotine vaping products. The sudden nature and severity of the illnesses suggest they are being caused by contaminants, rather than traditional vaping products that have been on the market for years.

The CDC plans to establish a data-collection system for the illnesses by early next week and to finalize an initial definition for the lung illnesses by the week's end.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the department and the Trump administration are also responding to the rise in lung illnesses. "[We] are using every tool we have to get to the bottom of this deeply concerning outbreak of illnesses in Americans who use e-cigarettes," he said.

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