‘Alarming’ First Vaping Death Reported in US (Multi-Video)

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By Medscape Medical News

An individual who had recently vaped and was hospitalized with severe respiratory illness in Illinois has died, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in a news briefing.

It’s the first death potentially linked to e-cigarette use.

In an update to an ongoing investigation, the CDC said today that, as of August 22, there are 193 potential cases of severe lung disease in 22 states that could be caused by e-cigarettes and vaping.

That’s 40 more cases than a day earlier, when the CDC reported a total of 153 possible cases, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

(Federal health officials are investigating a sharp increase in serious lung illnesses that may be linked to vaping. Dr. Janette Nesheiwat joins CBSN to talk about the potential health risks. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on Aug 23, 2019.)

Symptom Severity “Alarming”

The cases have been primarily among adolescents and young adults. The IDPH has not released the name, age, or gender of the individual who died.

During the briefing, Jennifer Layden, MD, PhD, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for the IDPH, said Illinois currently has 22 cases of severe, unexplained respiratory symptoms after vaping and is investigating an additional 12 possible cases.

The patients range in age from 17 to 38 years (median age, 23) and most are men.

“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike, MD, said in a statement.

(Tryston Zohfeld, 17, was taken to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, with blockage in his lungs. Courtesy of ABC News and YouTube. Posted on Aug 22, 2019.)

Ileana Arias, PhD, acting deputy director for non-infectious diseases at the CDC, noted that in many cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization.

Some patients reported mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness (including vomiting and diarrhea) as well as fatigue.

Ileana Arias, PhD
Ileana Arias, PhD

“Available evidence does not suggest that an infectious disease is the principal cause of the severe lung illness,” said Arias.

Many patients also said they had recently used tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products, although there was no specific product in common among all cases, nor was any product “conclusively linked to the illnesses,” she added.

“While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing these illnesses,” Arias said.

Mitch Zeller, JD, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the agency is current testing product samples provided by a number of states to see which chemicals they contain.

(The Food and Drug Administration will begin regulating e-cigarettes and cigars the same way it regulates cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. About 2.5 million high school students or middle schoolers vaped at least once in the last month; now e-cigarettes can no longer be sold to people under 18. Hari Sreenivasan talks to Mitch Zeller of the FDA for more on the new policy. Courtesy of PBS NewsHour and YouTube. Posted on May 5, 2016.)

“We do know that e-cigarettes do not emit a harmless aerosol,” said Brian King, PhD, MPH, deputy director of research translation at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

“The available science does suggest a variety of harmful and potentially harmful ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol, including many that could be harmful in terms of pulmonary illness. But at present we haven’t isolated a specific source,” King said during the briefing.

(Soter Technologies’ Fly Sense™ in action –  an innovative real-time vaping and elevated sound incident detection solution and smart alert system that provides visibility to areas where cameras are not permitted. Courtesy of Soter Technologies and YouTube.)

Zeller encouraged clinicians and the public to submit “as detailed reports as possible of any unexpected tobacco or e-cigarette-related health or product issues to FDA via our online safety reporting portal.”

To stay abreast of breaking medical news, follow Medscape on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Original post https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/917238

(E-cigarettes, vape pens and JUULs are marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. But these nicotine delivery devices are now being used at epidemic rates by children and teens. Our experts explain why they are not safe for kids and young people. Courtesy of MD Anderson Cancer Center and YouTube.)

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