Fourth death reported from lung illness possibly linked to vaping

Maricruz Casares
Setiembre 11, 2019

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in late August that a total of 215 cases of serious respiratory disease were being investigated. On Friday, the CDC reported the fifth death in the US connected to vaping. Officials say the likely cause is "chemical exposure", although they haven't identified what exactly that chemical is.

Dr Christiani called on doctors to discourage patients from using e-cigarettes. Most of the 450 cases involved a young person between 18 and 25 who was initially thought to have a pneumonia-like infection that turned out to be a pulmonary illness.

The death in IN involved a person who was above 18 years of age, but no additional information on the patients would be released, said the officials.

NY officials are focusing their investigation on an additive used in black-market vape oils made from vitamin E.

Over 120 samples have been analyzed, and while a few possible chemical culprits have been suggested - vitamin E acetate, present in numerous THC-containing products, was briefly highlighted - no one substance has been identified in all of them, according to Food and Drug Administration director Mitch Zeller.

"While the FDA does not have enough data presently to conclude that Vitamin E acetate is the cause of the lung injury in these cases, the agency believes it is prudent to avoid inhaling this substance, " FDA officials said.

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Deaths in the states of Indiana, California, and Minnesota were reported by officials.

"One of the things found in common was all patients were using vaped substances in e-cigarettes", said Dr Daniel Fox of WakeMed Health and Hospitals in North Carolina, where several cases were identified. No particular brand of cigarette was identified by the CDC, but they expressed concern regarding any product sold on the streets.

The CDC is cautioning people to avoid using e-cigarettes amid the outbreak, as a new patient in IN died, in addition to previously reported deaths in IL and Oregon. The outbreak of unusual lung disease is an alarm for federal officials.

Federal officials said that no single substance has been found present in all the laboratory samples being examined. Specifically, that the two primary ingredients found in e-cigarettes - propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin - are toxic, and that vaping produces several unsafe chemicals including acetaldehyde, acrolein and formaldehyde, which can cause lung and cardiovascular disease.

THC is the high-inducing component of marijuana, and numerous vaping illnesses around the country have been linked to use of THC-laden liquids.

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