First death in US tied to e-cigarette use as CDC reports nearly 200 vaping-related hospitalizations
Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are reporting the death of an adult with severe respiratory illness. The death is being linked to e-cigarette use, with the CDC now reporting almost 200 vaping-related cases of severe lung disease across the United States.
Hospitals across America have been reporting a wave of young people being hospitalized with acute lung problems over the past few months. The only common factor all these cases seem to share is that the patients use e-cigarettes.
No particular e-cigarette product has been found to link all the cases, although some patients have reported some recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed it was now involved in the ongoing investigation with 193 specific cases reported across 22 states.
“In many cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization,” says the CDC in a recent statement. “Some cases reported mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea and fatigue as well.”
Now, the first possible e-cigarette related death in the United States is being reported by Illinois health officials. No information as to the identity, age or gender of the deceased individual has been revealed. However, the IDPH has announced in a statement that at least 22 individuals in the state, between the ages of 17 and 38, have now been hospitalized with severe respiratory illness.
Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC, released a statement expressing the agency’s sadness at the recently reported death in Illinois. Redfield says the CDC is working with various state agencies to investigate these cases, and refers to the situation as an “ongoing outbreak”.
“This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products,” says Redfield. “Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents. CDC has been warning about the identified and potential dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping since these devices first appeared. E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”