Health officials in the United States are concerned with a rise of respiratory illnesses that may be the result of smoking e-cigarettes. So far, the mysterious lung disease has been observed in 25 states. The Centers for Disease Control reported the number of cases fueling the concern increased by 22 from 193 to 215 as of August 27.
In a joint statement released by the CDC and FDA, it is explained that similarities in the illnesses point to the possibility e-cigarettes are the cause of the problem. However, more information is needed to confirm the conclusion with complete certainty.
In a number of the new cases, patients reported purchasing and smoking e-cigarettes that contain tetrahydrocannabinol. This compound is active in cannabis products. One case in Illinois involved a respiratory failure that resulted in a fatality after vaping.
Alex Azar is the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar released a statement explaining the HHS is concerned with the increased use in tobacco products by young people. Azar says the department is making the issue a top priority.
It is suggested that individuals who enjoy vaping products not use or buy these products off the street. Vaping products should also not be modified or have anything added to them that was not intended by makers of the product.
The CDC and the FDA urge vape product users to monitor any symptoms they may experience after using the product. Officials also advise vape users do not hesitate to seek medical attention if symptoms cause them concern.
The symptoms that have been experienced by patients are mild when they begin but then show a substantial progression. They include shortness of breath and chest pain. Fever, fatigue, and vomiting have been reported by some patients.
The CDC and federal officials have reached out to doctors at the local level to alert them of the problem. They also request that doctors share any information they discover about the outbreak with the CDC.