More than 2,500 Americans have been hospitalized with vaping-related lung illnesses and 54 have died, US officials confirmed Thursday. .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that people have fallen ill in all 50 states and deaths have been reported in 27 states, plus Washington, DC.
Investigators still can’t say for sure what in vaping products is causing the spate of lung illnesses but have zeroed in on THC e-cigarettes and, specifically, a sticky oil called vitamin E acetate that they call a ‘strong culprit’ for the crisis.
Vitamin E acetate – believed to be used as a cutting agent in illicit vaping products containing marijuana components – in all lung samples from 29 patients.
CDC has called Vitamin E acetate a ‘chemical of concern’ and recommended that the substance not be added to e-cigarette or vaping products while the investigation is ongoing.
Vaping has killed people in:
- the District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
Victims of vaping range in age from 17 to 75, with an average age of 52.
As for people who have been sickened, but not died, of vaping illnesses, they skew younger, with an average age of 24.
Last week, Alaska reported its first case of vaping-linked illness, in a teenager who had been hospitalized, meaning e-cigarettes have sickened at least one person in every state.
Meanwhile, a teenager from Phoenix, Arizona, filed a lawsuit against Juul, blaming it for getting him addicted, joining another four states leveling similar claims.
About a third of US high schoolers now report using e-cigarettes, the CDC said in November.
Several states have passed flavored vaping bans, the Trump Administration has hinted that it would do the same – and then that it wouldn’t – and scores of individuals, cities and states have filed suit against vape megalith, Juul Labs.
Yet, on Thursday, a group of experts warned that over-zealous bans could do simply push people who have quit smoking back to cigarettes.
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