Nearly 1,100 cases of lung injury, reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 48 states and one U.S. territory, are linked to using e-cigarette, or vaping products, according to a recent report.
CDC’s weekly public information report on Thursday also revealed that 18 deaths have been confirmed in 15 states as of Oct. 1.
All patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing ones in particular, which, according to the latest national and regional findings play a key role in the outbreak.
THC is a crystalline compound which is the main active ingredient of cannabis.
CDC reported that approximately 70% of patients are male and overwhelmingly under 35 years old.
“Users may not know what is in their e-cigarette or e-liquid solutions. Many of the products and substances can be modified by suppliers or users,” said CDC and recommended “refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC”.
States of California, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana ranked highest with the injury reports.
In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a number of actions to crack down on the e-cigarette market, which has been selling and marketing to teens illegally.
“We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger,” an FDA statement said.
The FDA early September warned e-cigarette company JUUL Labs over false marketing practices for its tobacco products, accusing the company of modifying the risks especially when outreaching to the youth.
The agency said it issued a warning letter to the company “for marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school”.
The FDA’s investigation of the company is the latest in a series of actions it has taken as part of an effort to shed light on the illegal marketing practices of e-cigarette companies and other electronic nicotine delivery systems.
The agency has been under fire recently by parents and health NGOs over its negligence to investigate the recent respiratory illnesses and deaths associated with vaping.
It had to launch a wide-ranging investigation after the vaping-related illnesses initially claimed four lives in the U.S.
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