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The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning to vapers to stop purchasing e-cigarettes and other vaping-related products following a spike in deaths and prolonged illnesses.
According to the CDC, there have been approximately 530 known cases of people receiving lung injuries from vaping reported from 38 states and seven confirmed deaths in six states. According to EcoWatch, an eighth died on Monday, September 23 in Missouri.
Out of 373 of the cases, the CDC found that 72 percent are male victims, 67 percent are between 18 and 34 years old, and 16 percent of those negatively affected by vaping are under 18.
Of those studied, all reported having a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping and most of these patients admitted to using THC or nicotine with their e-cigarettes or vapes.
The recent spike in vaping-related illness in the U.S. appears to have begun in July in Wisconsin after many teens and young adults were hospitalized with serious lung conditions. All reported having vaped recently.
According to a Wisconsin Department of Health Services release:
During July 2019, eight cases of severe pulmonary disease among adolescents were reported to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). Patients resided in the counties of Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Winnebago and presented with respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Symptoms worsened over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital. Other symptoms reported by some patients included fever, anorexia, pleuritic chest pain, nausea, and diarrhea…
DHS is currently investigating the possible cause of these illnesses. All patients reported vaping in the weeks and months prior to hospital admission. The names and types of products used remain unknown, and patient interviews are ongoing.
In one extreme case which demonstrates the rapid onset of symptoms, an American high schooler Eddie Sullivan recalled his experience which saw him hospitalized with serious lung problems, two months after quitting vaping.
It began with a fever, ABC.net reports, which quickly worsened into vomiting and extreme pain. He was brought to the hospital and put on antibiotics, but, within a week, his symptoms had gotten even worse.
Eddie had begun having serious chest problems and trouble breathing, to such an extent that his pulse became hard to read. Doctors believe this was due to a lack of oxygen and Eddie needed to be put on a ventilator.
He was eventually taken to extensive care where he told doctors that he had been vaping regularly up to two months prior to his symptoms.
Finally, doctors were able to diagnose him with pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lungs caused by exposure to a toxic substance, reports ABC.net.
“When you have no idea what the cause is, how do you treat it?” Dr. Chidekel asks. “That is a daunting question. The clock is ticking, and the person can’t breathe. It is life or death.”
The sudden, unprecedented rise of vaping-related lung illness has led U.S. President Donald Trump to announce that “the FDA would require vape companies to stop selling flavoured vape products until they get regulatory approval,” reports TechSpot. However, this regulation seems to have done little to curb the growing rise of these cases.
According to Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, the FDA has collected over 150 vaping product samples and is beginning to analyze the samples for various substances, such as THC, opioids, cutting agents, pesticides, and other toxins.
“The FDA says its criminal investigations arm is now exploring the supply chain of vaping products to identify the cause of the outbreak. Mitch Zeller, the director of the Center for Tobacco Products for the FDA, said investigators will not be pursuing any individuals or companies and are not focused on prosecuting anyone at this time,” reports TechSpot.
With that said, the supply of e-cigarettes and vape related products are likely to decline significantly in the wake of these regulations, as retailers decide against the more financially costly products.
According to WebMD, even Walmart, one of the biggest retailers of e-cigarettes, has decided to sell off the rest of their stock and cease to purchase and sell more of the products.
“Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations,” Walmart said in a memo to local managers. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”