There have been 530 confirmed and probable cases of lung injuries related to e-cigarettes as of September 17, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
The investigation continues at both the state and federal level.
The American Vaping Association, a nonprofit that advocates for sensible regulation of vaping products, says there is growing evidence to suggest that black market tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products are responsible for the string of severe lung illnesses being investigated by the CDC and FDA.
"The focus is on the supply chain", Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, told the Post. "They have special investigative skills, and there are leads to track down". However, the OCI is not pursuing any prosecution for personal use of any of these substances, he said.
The local health unit will soon consider options to control the sale and distribution of vaping products and e-cigarettes. Investigators had previously mentioned finding vitamin E acetate in some samples, but lab tests show a "mix of results", Zeller said, and no one ingredient, including vitamin E, has shown up in all of the samples.
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Many of the patients reported using numerous vaping products and substances, including a mix of nicotine and THC. The agency is searching for a variety of constituents - THC and other cannabinoids, opioids, cutting agents, pesticides, poisons, toxins and additives - to see if any have a link with the illnesses.
Identifying compounds is only "one piece of the puzzle and will not necessarily answer questions about causality", he said. "We are leaving no stone unturned".
"We at CDC are very concerned about the occurrence of life threatening illness in otherwise healthy young people reported from around the country", Schuchat said.
Meanwhile, several TV networks - including CBS, WarnerMedia and CNN - say they will no longer air ads for e-cigarettes.
In most, if not, all, of these cases, what begins as shortness of breath and chest pain progresses to coughing, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, fever and weightloss. USA health officials also warned against altering vaping products sold from vendors. Young people in particular have been affected by the epidemic, with about half of reported cases being in people under the age of 25, USA Today reported. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.