Illinois case forms part of investigation into illnesses in teens or adults who had used e-cigarettes
US health officials are reporting what could be the countrys first death linked to vaping.
The officials said on Friday that an adult patient in Illinois, who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping, had died and that they considered it the first death in the US linked to e-cigarettes.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received the report of the death on Thursday, the chief medical officer, Dr Jennifer Layden, said.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 193 people in 22 states had contracted severe respiratory illnesses after vaping. However, they said a clear common cause of the illnesses had not been identified and that they were being called potential cases that were still under investigation.
Ileana Arias, a CDC official, said: Investigators havent identified any specific product or compound that is linked to all of the cases. She added that the patients might be dealing with different illnesses that had similar symptoms.
All of the illnesses had occurred in teens or adults who had used an e-cigarette or other kind of vaping device. Doctors said the illnesses resembled an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. So far, infectious diseases have been ruled out.
The illnesses had been reported since late June, but the total count rose quickly in the last week. That may be partly because cases that werent initially being linked to vaping had begun to be grouped that way.
Among the newest reports are two in Connecticut, four in Iowa and six in Ohio.
Health officials are asking doctors and hospitals to tell state health officials about any possible cases they encounter.
Dr Ngozi Ezike, the IDPH director, said in a statement: The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous.
E-cigarettes have been described as a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, but health officials have been worried about children using them. Most of the concern has focused on nicotine, which health officials say is harmful to developing brains and might make children more likely to take up cigarettes.
Some vaping products have been found to contain other potentially harmful substances, including flavouring chemicals and oils used for vaping marijuana, experts say.
A number of the people who got ill had vaped products containing THC, the main psychoactive constituent of marijuana. The American Vaping Associationsaid tainted, black-market THC products were to blame and called on federal officials to clear nicotine vaping products of suspicion.
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