Doug Stanglin USA TODAY
Published 3:21 PM EDT Oct 10, 2019
The number of lung injury cases linked to vaping has jumped to 1,299 and deaths to 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
The injury cases in the CDC’s weekly report came from 49 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Island. The center said they involved “confirmed and probable” lung-injury cases.
The 26 confirmed deaths were in 21 states: Alabama, California (3), Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia (2), Illinois, Indiana, Kansas (2), Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon (2), Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
Among 573 of the lung-injury cases, 76% reported using products containing THC, with or without nicotine-containing products. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of the psychological effects of marijuana.
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Among 1,043 patients where data on age and sex were available, 70% are male, 80% are under 35, the CDC said.
The median age of patients who died is 49 years, ranging from 17 to 75; 21% of the patients are 18 to 20 years old.
The latest figure follows a report from the U.S. Army that said two active-duty soldiers in its medical facilities had developed vaping-related lung illnesses.
The U.S. Army Public Health Center warned soldiers last month to avoid e-cigarettes and vaping products, saying their use could affect fighting strength, readiness and resilience.
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While the CDC has said the cause of the lung illnesses is still under investigation, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic says it may be tied to “toxic chemical fumes.”
The study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, was based on the biopsies of 17 people with confirmed or possible cases of vaping-related lung injuries, including two patients who died.
All of the subjects had a history of vaping; 71% of them used marijuana or cannabis oils.
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Early symptoms of the lung injuries include coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Despite speculation by some researchers that the injuries might be linked to an accumulation in the lungs of fatty substances known as lipids, the Mayo Clinic study says none of the cases showed any evidence of lipoid pneumonia.
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Massachusetts recently announced a four-month ban on all vaping devices and flavors.
Michigan, New York and Rhode Island have moved to restrict flavoring for the devices, also known as e-cigarettes. Cities such as San Francisco banned the sale and distribution of vaping devices.