A man from California has been reported to be the fifth person to have passed away following a suspected vaping-related illness.
The LA County man, who is said to have been over the age of 55, reportedly suffered from other chronic health conditions at the time of his death. Other deaths have been reported in the states of Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Oregon. Another man was placed into a medically induced coma in Utah.
As of Friday, September 6, officials have stated there are now 450 possible cases across 33 states and one territory, including the five reported deaths.
Out of the 450 cases of severe pulmonary disease reported across the US, the majority have reportedly involved young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who were initially suspected to have a pneumonia-like infection.
These cases of respiratory illness have resulted in severe symptoms, including chest pain, coughing shortness of breath and vomiting. In each of the confirmed cases, patients had vaped nicotine or the marijuana constituent THC within the last 90 days.
As reported by People, CDC incident manager, Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, said:
While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products.
People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms, for example, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting — and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.
A total of 12 people in LA County have now been hospitalised due to e-cigarette-related injuries, with almost all these individuals having vaped using THC. One third were reported to be older adults.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, LA County public health director Barbara Ferrer has issued the following warning:
Today we’re issuing a warning to all residents about the use of these devices as potentially harmful to proper lung function, Stop vaping now.
CDC officials have yet to figure out the precise chemical or substance these cases have in common, with affected patients reportedly having used various vaping products. Some patients used e-cigarettes with just nicotine, while others used cannabis-based products.
As noted by Leafly, suspicion has been raised regarding additives in black market vape products contributing to the spate of deaths and health issues. They advise anyone using products which are unregulated to stop immediately.
As reported by The Guardian, an estimated nine million adults and 3.6 million teenagers in the US use e-cigarettes. This includes 20 per cent of high school students.
According to The Guardian, doctors have not yet found the best way to treat the condition. In almost all cases, patients were initially treated on antibiotics, with many later treated with steroids, however it is unclear whether or not these treatments have led to improvements.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.