Vaping Illness Cases Surge Over 1,000

18 People Have Died

KCBS Radio Afternoon News
October 03, 2019 - 2:56 pm
E-cigarette vapor

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Categories: 

(KCBS Radio) – More than 1,000 people across the U.S. have now fallen ill from a vaping-related injury.

The CDC and the FDA confirmed Thursday that 1,080 people in 48 states and one U.S. territory have come down with a respiratory illness that has been linked to use of a vaping product. 18 people have died.  Only Alaska and New Hampshire have yet to report cases.

“Unfortunately the outbreak of pulmonary injury associated with e-cigarette use or vaping is continuing at a brisk pace,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC. “The trends persist. Most patients report a history of using THC-containing product and most patients are male and young people.”

Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with symptoms including severe shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. It is still not clear what may causing the outbreak, but officials and researchers are investigating the possibility of dangerous additives in counterfeit devices, or whether a common ingredient or users’ habits may be to blame.

“Investigating this crisis is FDA’s top priority,” said Dr. Judy McMeekin, Deputy Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs at the FDA. “We’re leaving no stone unturned in following every possible lead.”

Officials say that in the majority of cases, people reported using products that contained THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.

“FDA is not pursuing any actions associated with personal use of any vaping products,” said Dr. McMeekin. “Our interest is in the supply chain… if we determine that someone is manufacturing or distributing illicit, adulterated vaping products that caused illness or death for personal profit, we would consider that to be a criminal act.”

The CDC continues to recommend that people refrain from using vaping products, especially those that contain THC.

Reported by Jim Taylor.