Illinois health officials said on Friday that a patient who became ill with a serious lung disease after vaping had died, which could make the first death in the United States of a smoking alternative that became popular among teens and young adults .  According to a report from the Illinois Department of Health, 22 people between the ages of 17-38 have had respiratory illness after using electronic cigarettes or vaping last week.
The dying man has been hospitalized with severe respiratory illness, according to a news release. No other information about the patient, including name, exact age, hometown or date of death, was shared.
"The severity of the illnesses that people experience is alarming and we must understand that using electronic cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Jezike. "We requested a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help us investigate these cases and they arrived in Illinois on Tuesday."
The Department of Health is currently working with local health departments to investigate 1
The elimination of vaping-related diseases has affected teens and adults across the country in recent weeks, prompting the CDC to launch a formal investigation. In the meantime, health officials in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, among other states, are trying to determine exactly what causes these "severe" lung diseases in young people who report that they have cooked before becoming ill.
Doctors say that the diseases resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently responding to a corrosive substance. So far, infectious diseases are excluded.
On Wednesday, the CDC came out with news reports that 149 people across the country had contracted severe respiratory illness after vaping, but there were no reports of death thereafter.
Madeline Farber and Alexandra Debler and The Associated Press on Fox News contributed to this report.