The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a rising number of cases of mysterious pneumonias linked to vaping on Friday. Now, the agency reports 450 people from 33 states and one U.S. jurisdiction have been affected.

Three deaths have been confirmed, authorities said, and another is being investigated.

The New England Journal of Medicine and CDC’s online journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report coordinated the release of case reports and case findings from Illinois and Wisconsin, Utah, North Carolina and California. While the descriptions of the cases were remarkably similar, it is not currently clear why young vapers — the majority of cases are young men — are developing severe pneumonias.

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Many of the people who developed the respiratory illness — which in some cases requires days of mechanical ventilation — admitted to vaping tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis. Others said they vaped THC and nicotine while some said they only used nicotine products with their e-cigarettes.

Mitch Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s center for tobacco products, said FDA labs have been testing samples of vaping products collected by state health departments in their investigations of cases.

The FDA currently has 120 samples it is testing, looking for pesticides, toxins, poisons, cutting agents and additives as well as other chemicals, Zeller said. But so far there is no evident answer.

“The samples we’re evaluating show a mix of results and no one substance or compound, including vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested, Zeller said.

The illness has been described as a lipoid pneumonia, with lipids — fats — in the lungs. But Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, CDC’s incident manager for the outbreak, warned that it’s too soon to know if the lipids are a reliable clue.

She also noted that it is currently unclear whether these illnesses represent something new, or a health risk that has been newly recognized.

Reports of similar pneumonias among e-cigarette users have not come from other countries at this point. A CDC spokeswoman said that the agency has reached out to partner organizations, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, to ask if they are seeing similar cases. “At this time we’re not aware of any cases outside of the United States. However we are sharing information with international partners in the event that cases have gone unrecognized,” she said.

While investigations are underway, both the CDC and the FDA urged people to stop vaping. People who intend to continue to vape should buy their products from reliable stores, they said, and refrain from mixing products.

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  • 3 weeks ago I would’ve agreed with the tobacco company conspiracy; however, I do not think it is a coincidence that I came down with pneumonia for the first time ever after exclusively using Juul mango pods for 3 months. It was not like the electronic cigarettes I had previously used to quit smoking and never had issues with. I do not smoke anything else (THC products). Let’s just say I think differently now and that was enough for me to never smoke an electronic cigarette again.

    Don’t forget 9 out of 10 doctors used to recommend Marlboro. I’m sure the electronic cigarette companies have lobbyists considering it is a multi-billion dollar industry at this point. Also, cigarette companies are aware of the rise in electronic cigarette users and many have hedged by buying large interests in these new companies. I am just saying, be careful!!! I think in 20 years, we could all be saying, we should have known it was too good to be true. Not worth your life – buy some gum to quit and thank yourself in 20 years for not stupidly continuing to smoke because you just knew it had to be a conspiracy to get people back to cigarettes. I convinced myself of that too when I first read the vaping illness stories. This is your brain being clever because you are addicted to nicotine. It wants and loves nicotine, so it convinces you of this conspiracy to justify you continuing to vape. Water is 100% safe to consume, but inhaling water into your lungs … probably not the best idea. It took me getting pneumonia to have some sense, and I’m glad I got a wake up call before it was too late. I hope I help one person stop 🙂

  • I am highly suspect that “Linda” is a COPD patient who has seen improvement in her condition since vaping and I highly doubt Dr. Joseph Loscalzo (who is the Chair of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital that “Linda” is supposedly referring to) would tell her or anyone to go ahead and keep vaping. Right now, Children’s Hospital in Boston is going nuts in their addiction programs because the kids who are addicted to nicotine CANNOT get off of the nicotine from vaping which has much more nicotine and is much more addictive than cigarettes. The myth that vaping is a tool to get off of cigarettes has been debunked. I call BS. I suspect “Linda” here is a paid advocate for the vaping industry. Shame on you “Linda” – kids are dying and false reports like yours are creating a false sense of safety. Their blood is on your hands.

    • “the kids who are addicted to nicotine CANNOT get off of the nicotine from vaping which has much more nicotine and is much more addictive than cigarettes.”

      Writing in caps does not make a statement true. Vaping products do not have much more nicotine in general and are certainly not more addictive (even possibly less, but that is open to debate).

      “The myth that vaping is a tool to get off of cigarettes has been debunked.”

      Not out of the US, where regulation provide safer products. The Health authorities of many countries (UK for example), do not deny potential risks associated with vaping but have described it as a real breakthrough for quitting tobacco.

  • My son who is 28 is currently in the hospital with pneumonia still running fevers for a week and he had vipers. Not sure if they even know how to treat him

  • I smoked cigarettes for 43 years 3-4 packs of cigarettes a day! I tried everything through the years to stop. The patch, Wellbutrin, Nicorette, Chantix, cessation groups, hypnosis, You name it tried it! I started vaping five years ago with the help of a mod, flavored juice, and nicotine at 1.5mg. The same strength used in Marlboro cigarettes per cigarette. I finally decreased as I went along and vape at 0-.5mg now. Mostly 0! It helped me not only in the physiological aspect but the nicotine addiction. I have COPD of course from smoking cigarettes. Found out from the now Chief of the department of medicine at Brigham and Women’s and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). also an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    My doctor has been with me since the beginning and used to see him 2-3 times a year…up until three years ago. Now I’m seeing him one time per year and am off my medicine. He knows that I vape, has, since I started vaping and said, “he wanted to know more about vaping” and said, “keep doing what helps you, because it’s working”! “Your tests show it”! He also explained to me that COPD is not a reversible disease, but the vaping has shown significant improvement of the Alveoli and have stopped narrowing, and the chest is clear. Not foggy now, as seen on my x-rays and scans.

    Vape shops provide valuable advice and support for smokers wanting to switch and can help smokers achieve high success rates. Moreover, flavors are essential to the vaper to find their taste to help them succeed. I agree that some shops are advertising in such a way (have to stop) that would attract young people but most of these young people are smokers and have witnessed their loved ones and the pain they went through and scared that they die with the same experience. Most of them have turned to vape, Removing flavors or making it hard to find at a reasonable price would not be conducive to the plight of many because of non-conformists and Ads and articles showing a bunch of propaganda. It is our freedom as adults to make our own decisions!

    • If these offocials don’t know why its rising than they are idiots. Lets define pneumonia here: “build up if fluid in the lungs causing internal drowning.” When you are vaping, what are you sucking into your lungs? Liquid aka fluid in a semi gasous vapor form which once settles returns to its liquid state. Its fucking common sense breathing vaporized liquids into your lungs will return to its liquid state which WILL 100% of the time lead to pneumonia its the simplest law of human anatomy & biology and borders on common sense that this would happen. I’ve said this since vaping first became a thing. Its dangerous yet falsely advertised as safer than cigs and thise sellers who make that claim should be charges with 1st degree manslaughter

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