Vaping Illness Deaths Increasing

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Health Editor’s Note: The numbers for vaping illness are rising…along with deaths.  Vaping illness has been found in 48 states.  The commonality for all the illnesses and deaths is e-cigarette use.  Lack of oversight of e-cigarettes, along with quick and easy availability does not help in discovering why vaping is causing illness, which can become fatal.How did e-cigarettes slip through the cracks of regulations?…..Carol

CDC: Vaping Illness Cases Top 1,000

by John Gever Managing Editor MedPage Today

The case count for so-called vaping illness has now reached 1,080 with 18 deaths, government officials said Thursday, but they offered no new insights into the causes.

At this point, cases have been identified in 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands; the 18 deaths have occurred in 15 states, illustrating the outbreak’s national scope.

On a phone call with reporters, Anne Schuchat, MD, principal deputy director at the CDC, said the outbreak’s epidemiological profile remained the same as described in earlier reports: victims are mostly young men and a large majority had used THC products in the weeks before falling ill.

Specifically, among 578 victims who provided information on product use in the past 3 months, the following were reported:

  • 78% used THC products
  • 37% used THC products exclusively
  • 58% used nicotine products
  • 17% used nicotine products exclusively

Other components suggested as having a role, such as vitamin E acetate, also don’t appear to be involved in many cases.

“I wish we had more answers about specific harmful products,” Schuchat said.

The 275 cases added to the total of 805 reported a week ago included confirmation of some earlier illnesses as vaping-related that had previously been uncertain, as well as individuals newly becoming ill, she said.


Judy McMeekin, PharmD, the FDA’s deputy associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, emphasized on the call that “no one product or substance” has been linked to all cases. “We are leaving no stone unturned” in seeking to identify specific e-cigarette products or constituents that may be triggering illness.

For now, Schuchat said the agency had mounted a major effort to understand and quell the outbreak. Among the steps the CDC has taken were:

  • Sending CDC personnel to assist in state-level investigations
  • Reaching out to clinicians to build awareness and gain information
  • Engaging with relevant professional societies
  • Developing rigorous testing strategies with the FDA and other partners to identify potential triggers

For consumers, Schuchat had little encouraging to say. Alluding to the nearly complete lack of oversight for e-cigarettes, she said, “It is pretty much impossible for you to know what is in the e-cigarette or vaping product that you’re getting, particularly THC-containing products bought off the street or bought from social sources.”


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Carol, your scare article is exactly why I mentioned Tylenol in my other comments. I remember being there for that part of history. I don’t think there was many who I know that were scared. Don’t eat any, safe.
    If any talk is needed, it is about the ‘spreading’ and not any illness. All the symptoms of being a victim to this case are all after the fact, irrelevant really beyond pure medical science intrigue. But all killjoys and banks see is an opportunity to fan the flames of a industry not under their control and profit. Wait until you read the mice report. They saturated them with 6x normal nicotine levels with what amounts to a person vaping twice a minute, 24hrs a day for a year, non-stop. I’m surprised they didn’t kill more mice.

  2. “products bought off the street or bought from social sources”
    Gee, you think….
    I do wonder though, why do they continue to call this an illness, and under the review of Disease Control. After all, this is not a virus or bug or transmittable pathogen. It’s a spread of a street brewed tainted product. I’m amazed that the age of wonder can still not find out where these people got their juice from. Maybe all the victims covered their tracks with cash-only no-cell contacts some friend said to meet them in the woods behind Denny’s.

    • Optimus, This new type of illness starts out with shortness of breath, coughing, inflammation on both lungs…these can be symptoms of pneumonia. The fact that this has spread to at least 48 states means that the contamination is becoming more widespread. I just put up an article about the Tylenol scare back in the 80s. That was caused by someone tainting tylenol. Could this obvious alteration of vaping products be done by proponents of big tobacco? Harm reduction that is professed by the vaping and e-cigarette industries, potentially will draw smokers away from tobacco. Initially the vaping illness cases had the common denominator of having THC added and due to the lack of quality control, that could have been the case since some cyanide was supposedly found. Now the only common denominator in all of the cases is that the person was vaping…