Initially conceived as a smoking cessation device, e-cigarettes have rapidly become popular with teenagers, with preliminary official data for 2019 showing more than a quarter of high school students using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.
Investigators still haven't found the root cause of the illnesses, but did find that 78 percent of people injured reported using THC containing products.
"The increasing number of lung injury cases we see associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, is deeply concerning", said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., in an October 3 media statement.(www.cdc.gov) "Unfortunately, this may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the escalating health threat this outbreak poses to the American public, particularly youth and young adults".
Overall, 87% of the interviewed patients reported using e-cigarette products containing THC, and 71% had used nicotine-containing products. The death in MA brings the national total to 19 reported in 16 states.
She said the information gathered to date indicates that many people with vaping associated lung injuries whose substance use history is known "are long-time users or frequent users and may or may not have changed their habits" in regard to safety warnings around e-cigarette use.
However, some patients report they only vaped tobacco products.
She noted that states are responsible for the initial investigation and classification and typically report deaths to the CDC once they are confirmed, which the agency then includes in its weekly update of numbers.
No single product has been linked to all cases of vaping-related lung injury. The median age of cases is 23 years, with about 62 % of patients aged 18-34 years, according to the new report.
Several vape shop owners have sued MA, asking the court to deem the ban "unconstitutional". Selling these products to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal in Hawai'i. A lot of this investigation is ongoing.
Public and political opinion appears to be hardening, however, with US Government announcing in September it would ban flavoured e-cigarette products - which are particularly attractive to young people - in the coming months.
"If you choose to use these products, monitor yourself for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health", the FDA suggests.