Lung disease linked to vaping now in 33 states, blamed for 5 deaths and the Centers for Disease Control is investigating more than 450 possible cases of a potentially serious lung disease linked to use of e-cigarettes.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the state’s Department of Health to issue guidance that will urge people to stop vaping amid concerns over a lung disease linked to electronic cigarettes that’s left hundreds ill around the country.
What the report says about vaping victims
Most patients experience shortness of breath, fever, cough, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. All said they’d recently vaped THC, nicotine, or a combination of the two.
“There is an investigation ongoing. Nobody knows exactly what it is. There is some suggestion that is linked to Vitamin E, et cetera. Our health guidance is no one should be using vaping products, period, until we know what it is.”Cuomo said.
Vitamin E acetate is a commonly available nutritional supplement that is not known to be harmful when taken as a vitamin or applied to skin, according to the New York State Department of Health.
New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued a health advisory regarding e-cigarettes in August when only 11 cases were reported in the state. But Zucker went a step further Saturday and urged residents to stop vaping all together.
“Heeding the warnings from CDC and at the direction of Governor Cuomo, today I am urging New Yorkers to stop using vape products while the investigation into the definitive cause of reported vaping-associated illnesses nationwide can be better determined,”Zucker said.
Zucker said that Wadsworth Center, New York State’s public health laboratory, was currently testing both cannabis and nicotine-containing vape products received from people who reported feeling ill.
The CDC has also advised people to stay away from vaping devices while investigators work to pinpoint exactly what’s behind the illnesses. The Food and Drug Administration has tested 120 product samples, and so far has been unable to identify any one brand, ingredient or substance that could explain the illnesses.
Also, it’s highly recommended that you not purchase the products off the street, out of the back of a car, out of a truck, in an alley, or if you’re gonna then go home and make modifications to the product itself using something that you purchased from some third party or got from a friend.
The investigation has been hindered by the need to rely on patients’ disclosing exactly what they’d vaped, as many have reported using a variety of devices and e-liquids in the days, weeks and months before becoming ill. And some patients may be reluctant to admit using marijuana.
Doctors say anyone vaping who develops respiratory distress, including coughing, difficulty breathing and chest pain, should consult a clinician.
Vaping caused victims in several states
Cases of the disease have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New England, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. As of Sept. 6, no cases have been confirmed in Alabama.
Five deaths linked to the lung illness have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon.
The CDC said the lung illnesses are likely associated with exposure to chemicals used in e-cigarettes, commonly known as vaping. No specific substance or e-cigarette products has been linked to all cases and no evidence of infectious diseases has been identified.
“Therefore, lung illnesses are likely associated with chemical exposure,”CDC said.
The CDC said it is investigating all the cases but for now, people should consider not using e-cigarettes. Those that do vape and experience symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever or weight loss are advised to contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Some patients have reported their symptoms developed over a few days, while others said it took several weeks.