There were 2,051 cases of lung injury linked to vaping as of November 5, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.
The vaping injuries have been reported in 49 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. Alaska remains the one state without any vaping-related injuries reported to the CDC.
States have reported at least 40 deaths. The deaths have occurred in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Additional potential vaping-related deaths are under investigation, according to the CDC.
Most of the patients – 70% – are men, and the median age of patients is 24 years old. People who have gotten sick range in age from 13 to 75.
The CDC is working closely with local health departments and the US Food and Drug Administration to pinpoint what exactly is causing these illnesses. It doesn’t appear that any one product is to blame, although many cases seem to be linked to products bought “off the street” or from some other “informal sources,” such as a family or friend, rather than from a vaping store, according to the CDC.
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THC has been present in most of the samples of vaping products that the FDA has tested so far, and most of the patients who have gotten sick said they had used THC-products in the past. Among the 867 patients for whom the agency has information about what they vaped, about 86% said they used THC products, about 64% said they used nicotine products when they vaped; only 11% said they used nicotine exclusively, as of October 15.
The CDC is also trying to figure out what the risk factors may be, if there are any, among those who have gotten sick.
In the wake of these injuries, some states and cities have placed limits on sales of vaping products. Some of these actions are now being challenged in court. Some stores, including Walgreens and Walmart, have also stopped selling vaping products.