US vaping-related illnesses surpasses 500

The links between vaping and critical lung disease appear to becoming more frequent and obvious although health authorities are struggling to find the ‘smoking gun’ that is the actual cause of the current list of cases.

More than 500 people have been diagnosed with vaping-related breathing illnesses. An eighth death has also been reported. The US Food and Drug Administration says its criminal investigations unit started tracking leads early on, as cases pointed to black market vaping products. The agency’s tobacco director, Mitch Zeller, stressed that it is not interested in prosecuting individuals who use illegal products but is lending a hand because of the unit’s “special skills.”

Meanwhile, the US Centre for Disease Control and Preventionreported 530 confirmed and probable cases have been registered in 38 states and one US territory, up from 380 a week ago. Missouri has now joined the list announcing the death this week of a man in his mid-40s at a St. Louis hospital. Canada has reported its first case – a high school student who was on life support but since recovered.

All patients had been using electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices.

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Doctors have said the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. So far, no single vaping product or ingredient has been linked to the illnesses, though most patients reported vaping THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana.

So far two-thirds of the cases involved 18-34 year olds. 75% of the cases are men.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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