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CDC Update Lung Illness Outbreak and E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Update, on Lung Injury Outbreak Among People Who Use E-Cigarettes or Vape

This update was publicized on Thursday, September 19, 2019 from officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, there is a national public health investigation about the occurrence of life-threatening illness in otherwise healthy young people reported from around the country. All reported cases had a history of e-cigarette use. As of September 17, there have been:

  • 530 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping
  • 38 states and one territory have reported this
  • 7 deaths have been confirmed and reported from six states, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon.
  • About three-quarter of the cases are male
  • About two-third of the cases are people between the ages of 18 and 34 years.
  • 16% of the cases are younger than 18 years of age
  • More than 50% of the cases are people under 25 years of age

Patients typically report symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain.  Some also describe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain.

More information is needed to better understand whether there’s a relationship between any specific products product or substance and the reported lung injuries and deaths.  If you are concerned about these specific health risks, CDC recommends that you consider not using e-cigarette or vaping products.  If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak, it is recommended you see a health care provider as soon as possible.  Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not use or buy these products off the street and should not modify or add any substances to these products.  Regardless of this investigation, certain people should not use e-cigarettes or vaping products: youth and young adults, women who are pregnant, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products.  medications.

On Monday, September 16th, the CDC activate their emergency operations center in order to enhance their inter-agents response and strengthen coordination of the multistate outbreak of cases of lung injury associated with e-cig product use or vaping.

No consistent e-cigarette  or vaping product, substance, additive, or brands has been identified in all cases, nor has any one product or substance been conclusively linked to lung injury in patients.

FDA has now collected more than 150 vaping product samples from several states for analysis. FDA is analyzing these samples for the presence of a broad range of chemicals, including nicotine, THC and other cannabinoids, along with opioids, cutting agents or dilutants and other additives, pesticides, poisons and toxins.

Dr. Schuchat from the CDC is very concerned about the occurrence of the life-threatening illness in otherwise healthy young people adding that “the states continue to get new cases reported in addition to catching up from prior cases.  I think this is an ongoing outbreak and not something that we can consider completed.  Some of the additional cases that are in the numbers this week are of course from several weeks ago.  But there continues to be people with new symptom onset.  That is why we are so keen to get the word out to people.  If you do have concerns about your health risk, please consider from refraining using e-cigarettes or vaping products at this time.”