A patient after developing a serious respiratory disease because of vaping has died, thus marking the first death whose cause is vaping according to health officials. The news comes at a time when the experts are investigating a mystery lung disease throughout the US that has been linked to the use of e-cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim that there are 193 ‘potential cases’ in twenty-two US states regarding vaping and subsequent disease. Most of these cases involve the vaping of THC – the primary active compound in cannabis – as per the CDC experts. The cases have been reported during 28 June and 20 August.
According to Dr. Jennifer Layden, who is the chief medical officer and state epidemiologist in Illinois, the person who has passed away was ‘hospitalized with unexplained illness after reported vaping or e-cigarette use.’ CDC Director Robert Redfield has stated, ‘We are saddened to hear of the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use an e-cigarette or ‘vaping’ devices. This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products.’
The cause of the mystery illness remains unknown as of yet but involves vaping in some form. Dr. Ileana Arias, who is the head of non-infectious diseases at CDC, said, ‘In many cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of THC-containing product.’ Those who have been affected show symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue. However, cases of diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported. As of right now, there is no evidence that would suggest that it is an infectious disease.
Dr. Arias said, ‘It isn’t clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar presentations.’ So far, there have been a total of 22 cases in the state of Illinois alone. Officials are conducting laboratory tests of vaping liquid samples to identify if any toxic compounds are present. There are reports of a ‘black market’ that provides THC-containing vaping cartridges that are then sold legally via medical marijuana dispensaries in some states of the US.
The president of the American Vaping Association, Gregory Conley, stated in a statement that was given on Thursday that he was ‘confident’ that the nicotine was not the cause of the illness. He blamed the cannabis or other synthetic drugs containing devices for these illnesses. However, Dr. Brian King from the CDC’s office on smoking and health has warned once again about considering vaping as a totally safe.
He said, ‘We do know that e-cigarettes do not emit a harmless aerosol. There’s a variety of harmful ingredients identified, including things like ultrafine particulates, heavy metals like lead and cancer-causing chemicals. It’s possible that the reported cases could have been occurring before this investigation was even initiated.’
What do you think of vaping and these illnesses?