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As more consumers realize the connection between vaping and respiratory problems, federal health officials indicate that the number of confirmed cases involving severe pulmonary disease has now topped 800 people nationwide, including at least 12 deaths.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update this week on the number of vaping pulmonary disease cases reported nationwide, indicating that the number has surged in recent weeks to 805 cases in at least 46 different states, and one U.S. territory. In addition, at least a dozen deaths have been confirmed in 10 states, all involving individuals who experienced respiratory problems after vaping.
Despite some belief that the illnesses may be linked to products containing synthetic cannabis or CBD oils, the CDC indicates that it still has not identified a exact cause, and that the only common thread between the pulmonary disease cases is vaping.
“We do not yet know the specific cause of these lung injuries,” the CDC update states. “The investigation has not identified any specific e-cigarette or vaping product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) or substance that is linked to all cases.”
The CDC did warn that the number of reported illnesses has increased about 52% over the last week. The most recent death was announced by officials in Mississippi. It was the first death in that state and state health officials say the victim was under the age of 30.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, the state has only seen four cases total, including the death, since September 17. However, all four have been between the ages of 18 and 34.
The CDC indicates two-thirds of all reported cases to date have been between the ages of 18 and 34, with 72% of victims being male, 38% of illnesses affecting those under 21 years old and 16% of cases occurring in those under the age of 18.
A day after the latest update was released, JUUL Labs announced it was halting advertisements for its vaping products throughout the United States as it faces an investigation over whether it marketed to underage consumers.
In response to the epidemic-levels of e-cigarette use reported among the nation’s youth, a number of state and federal officials have also announced new plans to ban certain flavored vaping products.
Bans have been announced in Michigan, New York and California, and federal regulators say a national flavored e-cigarette ban is in the works.
In addition, this week Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency and put in place a four-month ban on vaping products state-wide. Unlike the proposed bans in other states, this affects all vaping products and devices, though it is allegedly only temporary.
A growing number of JUUL addiction lawsuits are also now being filed on behalf of teenagers, young adults and other adults who indicate that they have developed a life-long nicotine problem due to false and misleading advertisements made for years about the vape pen, leaving them unable to stop vaping or progressing to traditional cigarettes.