(August 26, 2019) Within the last week, the first vaping-related death occurred in the United States and prompted health officials to look, yet again, cautiously at the safety of the devices.
One person died in Illinois due to a severe respiratory disease linked to vaping. Jennifer Layden, the chief medical officer and Illinois state epidemiologist, said the person who died was “hospitalized with unexplained illness after reported vaping or e-cigarette use.”
This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are 193 other “potential” cases in the United States.
Robert Redfield, CDC director, said the agency is “..saddened to hear of the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use e-cigarette or ‘vaping’ devices.”
“This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products,” he added.
This mystery illness doesn’t necessarily have a name just yet, but it’s associated with vaping. The illness points to no signs of an infectious disease, like a virus or bacteria.
Below are the symptoms of this vape-related illness:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
Many of the patients involved in the 193 reported CDC cases acknowledged using a THC-containing product. The online community has oftentimes discussed the possibility of fake cartridges hitting the market, especially in states where marijuana is still illegal.
However, it’s important to note that it’s not narrowed down to THC vape products – anyone could be affected by vape pens and devices.
Dr. Brian King of the CDC office on smoking and health, said that vaping is not entirely safe. “We do know that e-cigarettes do not emit a harmless aerosol,” he said.
He added: “There’s a variety of harmful ingredients identified, including things like ultra fine particulates, heavy metals like lead and cancer causing chemicals.”
For instance, one flavoring called diacetyl, has been linked to “severe respiratory illness.”
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