Vaping nicotine and/or THC cartridges seems to be a common link between victims.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is investigating all of these cases.
These people reported using vape products or dabbing (vaping marijuana oils, extracts or concentrates) in the weeks and months prior to hospitalization. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and a possible fever; additionally, many who have taken ill have described the onset as similar to a heart attack. Some media outlets are reporting that the illness may be caused by high-concentrate exposure to THC, but that has not been substantiated in any way and appears to be entirely incorrect. It further says, "Youth, young adults, pregnant women, as well as adults who do not now use tobacco products should not use e-cigarettes". What I've noticed is that an incredibly important piece of information that is nearly always reported front-and-center in local headlines related to vaping illness has gotten somewhat lost in the larger national discussion.
Both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating what may be behind the illnesses, though a specific product has not yet been identified.
E-cigarettes can contain harmful or potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals (e.g., lead), volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals.
The lung illnesses aren't the only health concerns being investigated that are linked to e-cigarettes.
"Anyone who uses e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer", CDC Director Robert Redfield and acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said in the statement. They also recommend people not brew up e-liquids or "juice" in their own garages and vape them with custom vapes.
Ten counties in Wisconsin have reported cases of severe chemical pnumonitis or chemical pneumonia: Dodge, Door, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Portage, Racine, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago. "All e-cigarettes contain a heating element that produces an aerosol from a liquid that users inhale".