FAQ: What we know about the deadly lung illnesses tied to vaping

First death from vaping-related illness in Alabama confirmed

The number of Americans sickened with a severe lung illness tied to vaping continues to climb, US health officials said Thursday.

The FDA is working with the CDC to aid state and local health agencies in their investigations of the lung injury outbreak. The figures do not include Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own independent health departments.

Roughly two-thirds of the patients are age 25 or younger, officials said.

The CDC recommends that people refrain from using e-cigarette or vaping products. That compared to 58 per cent who reported vaping some products containing nicotine, and 17 per cent who said they had only vaped nicotine.

"I believe we actually have the feeling now that there might be a great deal of different nasty things in e-cigarette or even vaping goods, and they could lead to unique mishaps from the lung", Anne Schuchat, a senior officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a telephone with colleagues.

The CDC said in its current report that the majority of self-reporting cases are male, and under 35. Ryan Bartlett, who works for the department's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, said one of the only options to try to gain control of the problem is through marketing. He's a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale.

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of various flavors of vapor solution, known as "juice", for use in e-cigarettes at a shop in Sacramento, Calif.

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Trustworthy one case has been reported in one other country, making the outbreak extra mysterious restful. Indicators incorporate severe shortness of breath, exhaustion and chest suffering. One doctor said the lung burns were like those one sees in a corrosive chemical spill.

Health experts generally consider e-cigarettes to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes because they don't contain all the cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco.

Most of the recommendations, including banning the sales of flavored e-cigarettes, will require legislation, he said.

USA health regulators have generally taken a more cautious approach.

The CDC and FDA continue to urge the public not to vape at all. "It is pretty much impossible for you to know what is in the e-cigarette or vaping product that you're getting, particularly THC-containing products bought off the street or bought from social sources", said Schuchat.

Schuchat acknowledged a concern about black market products.

Investigators have not linked the illnesses to any specific product or compound, but have pointed to vaping oils containing THC - the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana - as being especially risky.

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