New York, Sept 7 (SF) .- Federal health officials called for a cessation of vaping until they find out why some people are having serious respiratory illnesses.
Authorities have identified some 450 possible cases, including up to five deaths, in 33 states. The count includes deaths reported recently in California, Indiana and Minnesota.
No vaping device, liquid or ingredient has been linked to all diseases, officials said. Many of the sick – but not all – were people who said they had been vaping THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Many are teenagers.
Health authorities have only been accounting for certain lung diseases in which people have been vaping in the last three months. Doctors say that such ailments resemble an inhalation injury, in which the body is apparently reacting to a caustic substance that someone inhaled. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and vomiting.
All diseases have arisen this year, and the number increased rapidly in the last month as more states began investigations. A week ago, federal officials said the total was 215 possible cases in 25 states.
It is not clear if those diseases began before this year.
“We all wonder if this is new or just newly discovered,” Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters.
Dr. Jennifer Layden, an Illinois health official, said authorities do not know when those diseases began, but said there has been a marked increase since the beginning of the year.