Twelve deaths in 10 states have been connected with a vaping-related lung illness that has affected 805 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Photo by lindsayfox/Pixabay
Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Twelve people have died and the number of confirmed and probable cases of lung disease linked to vaping use has risen to 805, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
The ailment now has been found in 46 states, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, the agency said.
Deaths from the mysterious illness have been reported in 10 states, with two each reported in California and Kansas and other deaths in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi and Oregon, the agency said.
The CDC published sex and age data for 373 of the cases. Almost three-fourths, or 72 percent, of the patients were male, and 67 percent were between ages 18 and 34. Another 16 percent of patients were under 18.
The agency said investigators believe the suspected cause of the illness is "a chemical exposure." Most patients told doctors they had a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC. Many patients reported using both THC and nicotine. Some reported using e-cigarette products containing only nicotine.
The CDC said it is investigating the use of vitamin E acetate as a filler in illicit THC vapes, as well as other adulterants and possible defects in vaping devices for both THC and nicotine e-cigarettes.
The FDA last week said it has launched a criminal investigation into the cause of the vape-related illnesses and deaths.
On Wednesday, members of the Food and Drug Administration testified about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes in front of the House committee on energy and commerce.
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., the chairwoman, pointed out that no vaping products on the market have been studied by the FDA.
"None have been fully reviewed for impact on public health," she said. "FDA needs to do its job, examine these products, tell the public what the risks are and how and even if they can legally be sold."
Also on Wednesday, Juul, the maker of tobacco vaping products, announced that the company was canceling all marketing advertisement campaigns in the United States.
Altria, the parent company of Juul, announced the ouster of CEO Kevin Burns, who was replaced by former Altria executive K.C. Crosthwaite.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker ordered a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products in the state. Baker said the temporary ban of both nicotine and marijuana e-cigarettes was a response to a statewide health emergency.