CDC warns of e-cigarette risk after death in Illinois

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) The CDC is providing consultation to state health departments about a cluster of pulmonary illnesses possibly related to vaping.

As of yesterday, 193 potential cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette product use had been reported by 22 states (CA, CT, IL, IN, IA, MN, MI, NC, NM, NY, PA, TX, UT, WI, and additional states pending verification). These were reported between June 28th and August 20th of this year.

Today, one death has been reported in Illinois.

Robert Redfield, MD, Director of the CDC, issued a statement today regarding the death in Illinois.

“We are saddened to hear of the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use e-cigarette or ‘vaping’ devices. CDC’s investigation is ongoing. We are working with state and local health departments and FDA to learn the cause or causes of this ongoing outbreak.”

“This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products. Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents. CDC has been warning about the identified and potential dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping since these devices first appeared. E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”

Today, the CDC held a teleconference with the following officials: Dr. Ileana Arias, the Senior Scientific Adviser and Acting Deputy Director for Non-Infectious Diseases; Dr. Jennifer Layden, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist with the Illinois Department of Public Health; Mitch Zeller, FDA Director of the Center for Tobacco Products; Dr. Brian King, CDC Office on Smoking and Health; and Dr. Josh Schier, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention.

During the teleconference, officials offered their condolences to the family of the person reported dead, relating to the investigation of respiratory illnesses following the use of vaping products.

According to Dr. Layden, Illinois will not be providing any information on the deceased, to help protect their identity and medical confidentiality.

Dr. Layden told of the following statistics; Illinois cases range from 17 to 38 years of age and the majority have been men.

Later on in the teleconference, Dr. Layden points out, “There is not a specific product that is consistent across all ages.” She says, “The consistent information is that all patients have vaped in recent months.”

Dr. Schier provides more information on the measures being taken between state and federal departments. “Right now, states are leading their own specific epidemiologic investigations and we’re providing assistance as needed,” says Schier. “CDC is working on a system to collect, aggregate, and analyze data at the national level to better characterize this illness.”

Director Mitch Zeller says, “Our agency is committed to continuing to work closely with CDC and state health officials working as quickly as possible to gather more information about all of the cases.”

To read more from the CDC and their ongoing reporting, visit their website.