Health officials confirmed that vaping-related lung illness has killed more than five people and sickening as many as 450 people across the United States.
215 cases have been confirmed so far but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have expanded their investigation.
Researchers from Harvard University called the mystery illnesses sweeping the country as a “worrisome cluster of pulmonary diseases related to vaping.”
Many cases have involved nicotine and THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
According to Indiana health officials, one adult has passed away of vaping-related ‘severe lung injury.’ Another death was confirmed by Minnesota health officials.
State officials said to the Washington Post that they identified a vitamin E oil-derivative in cannabis e-liquids used by patients with mysterious illnesses. This chemical may act like grease in lungs, damaging small sacs that fill with air.
“We are recommending people consider not using e-cigarettes,” CDC officials said. They also stated that many but not all of the confirmed cases involved both nicotine and THC.
Oregon health officials said the patient who passed away there had been using a THC vape pen.
CDC officials are now working with health departments in more than 30 states to know how e-cigarettes are causing these illnesses.
Signs and symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, weight loss and fever.
Those with severe cases have severely damaged lung that seemed to be infected with pneumonia.
18-year-old Adam Hergenreder from Illinois was recently hospitalized after developing what he thought was flu with vomiting and nausea.
After a full x-ray of his lungs, he was told that his chest looked like that of a 70-year-old man’s.
Adam had been vaping for two years, starting with mango and mint nicotine e-liquids before using THC dab sticks.
His lung function became so poor that he had to be placed on oxygen. Although he is improving, his lungs may not recover for months.
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