CDC Confirms 2,668 Lung Injury Cases Linked to Vaping

By Zusmee Byamba

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of 2,668 lung injury cases related to e-cigarettes or vaping products were reported across the United States, including Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands as of Jan. 14.

In addition, the number of deaths associated with e-cigarettes reached 60 in 27 states with the highest number of deaths in Washington, Georgia, Illinois, and Indiana reported the CDC.

The study shows vape-related lung diseases were most commonly detected among young men.

“This is a serious clinical condition affecting young people across the country and it’s completely preventable,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director, said last month.

In December, U.S. officials reported that 78 percent of the patients hospitalized for vape related lung issues were under the age of 35 and 67 percent of them were men.

The youngest death reported for a vape-related lung disease was a 15-year-old boy in Texas, reported Time magazine.

The first teenager who died due to vaping related injuries was in September in New York.

About 80 percent of the lung disease victims reported using products containing THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana that produces the “high,” and 35 percent reported using THC exclusively. Fifty-four percent of the victims reported using products with nicotine.

However, the CDC found that the main cause of vaping injuries is due to vitamin E acetate used as an additive in many THC vaping products. It was detected in 48 patients out of 51 diagnosed with a vape-related lung injury, according to Daily Mail.

While vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or for skin use, inhaling it could interfere with the lungs’ normal functions.

The most commonly used brand associated with the injuries was identified as Dank Vapes, discovered to be used by 56 percent of the victims. Other popular brands include TKO, Smart Cart, and Rove among the 152 different brands reported.

According to AXIOS, the Food and Drug Administration banned fruit and mint flavored vaping products starting in January, in an effort to decrease youth vaping with exemptions for tobacco and menthol flavors.

California proposed a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes on Monday. Massachusetts proposed a 75 percent excise tax in vaping products. Other states and cities are also issuing permanent or temporary bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products.

CDC advises vaping products should “never be used by youths, young adults or women who are pregnant.”

CDC also recommends that people do not use vaping products obtained from friends, family, or in-person or online dealers as the majority of the hospitalized victims reported acquiring from informal sources.