The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an urgent alert Friday night about e-cigarette use and vaping, telling Americans they should stop immediately amid an investigation into a puzzling lung disease that appears to be connected to vaping.
Officials are reporting 450 possible vaping-related illnesses across 33 states. As of Friday, five people have died, with officials in California, Indiana and Minnesota each reporting one death in their state on Friday. According to the Minnesota Health Department, the cause of death for the patient was linked to vaping black market products that contained THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. The patient in California passed after using a vaping device to consume THC, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Dr. Muntu Davis said at a press conference on Friday.
Health officials in Indiana did not release any details about the death in their state.
So far, investigators have been unable to determine any one brand, ingredient or substance that could explain the mysterious lung illness. The FDA is looking into a broad range of chemicals that could be responsible, including nicotine, THC, additives, pesticides, or any other form of toxin.
While the investigation is on-going, health officials are urging people to cease vaping potentially counterfeit products.
Patients report feeling sick for a few days and are initially misdiagnosed with bronchitis or some kind of viral infection. Their symptoms generally include, coughs, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. They've all reported recently vaping THC, nicotine, or both.
"Some patients have reported that their symptoms developed over a few days, while others have reported that their symptoms developed over several weeks," the CDC said on its website. "A pulmonary infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms, which have generally not improved with antibiotic treatment alone."
The CDC says:
- Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products.
- Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
- If you do use e-cigarette products, you should not buy these products off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids).
- You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
- Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor or other medical provider.
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