NEW YORK – U.S. Health officials on Friday again urged people to stop vaping until they figure out why some are coming down with serious breathing ailments.
Officials have identified about 450 possible cases, including as many as five deaths, in 33 states. The count includes newly reported deaths in California, Indiana and Minnesota.
No single vaping device, liquid or ingredient has been linked to all illnesses, officials said. Many of the sick – but not all – were people who said they had been vaping THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its high. Many are teens.
CASES OF NORTHERN VAPING-LINKED LUNG ILLNESS SURGE TO 450, 3RD DEATH REPORTED IN INDIANA: OFFICIALS
within three months. Doctors say the illness resembles an inhalation injury, with the body apparently reacting to a caustic substance that someone breathes in. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and vomiting.
The illnesses have all surfaced this year, and the number has been growing rapidly in the last month as more states have fledged investigations. A week ago, U.S. Officials pegged the number at 21
It's unclear whether such illnesses have happened before this year.
"We're all wondering if this is new or just newly recognized," Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters Friday.
An Illinois health official, Dr. Jennifer Layden, said officials did not know when such illnesses first began, but she said there was a marked increase since spring.
Deaths were previously reported in Illinois and Oregon.
Indiana officials said the person who died there was an adult, but they didn't say when it happened or release other details. Los Angeles health officials said they were investigating a vaping death as well. And Minnesota health officials said the state's first known vaping-related death was a person over 65 with a history of lung problems who had vaped illicit THC products and died in August.
Recent attention has been focused on devices, liquids, refill
New York state has focused its investigation on an ingredient called Vitamin E acetate, which has been used to thick marijuana vape juice but is considered dangerous if heated and inhaled. State investigators found substance in 13 cartridges collected from eight patients.
CDC officials said they were looking at several ingredients, including Vitamin E acetate. But Meaney-Delman added that no single factor was seen in every case.
Also Friday, the New England Journal of Medicine published a series of articles that gave medical details about cases reported in Illinois, Wisconsin and Utah.
An article on 53 illnesses in Illinois and Wisconsin noted that about one-fifth of cases were people who said they had vaped nicotine and not anything that contained THC or CBD oil.
For that reason, doctors and health officials were continuing to suggest People stay away from all vaping products until the investigation establishes exactly what's at the root of the illness.
Meaney-Delman said avoiding vaping is "the primary means of preventing this severe lung disease."
It's not yet clear what The impact of recent illnesses is on vaping rates, but some health officials are hoping more Americans will become wary.
There has been a split among public health experts about the value of nicotine vaping. Some argue e-cigarettes are not as lethal as conventional cigarettes and can be a valuable aide to smokers trying to kick the habit.
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have not established that adult smokers who try vaping end up quitting smoking long term.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials has long been cautious about endorsing e-cigarettes even before the recent spate of diseases, because there is little scientific Evidence exists to show that e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices are effective cessation devices, "spokeswoman Adriane Casalotti said in a statement.
The states reporting vaping-related lung diseases to the CDC are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee , Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
AP reporters Tom Davies and Indianapolis, Doug Glass and Minneapolis, Matthew Perrone and Washington, and Carla K. Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.