A patient has died in Illinois, after developing a severe respiratory disease due to vaping is the first such death in the US, say health officials.
According to a news release from the Illinois Department of Health, 22 people, ranging in age from 17-38 years, experienced respiratory illness after using e-cigarettes or vaping in the past week.
Nearly 200 people have been struck with similar symptoms between June 28th and today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.
]The state Department of Health is currently working with local health departments to investigate 12 other people experiencing respiratory symptoms, including a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.
The cause is unknown, though CDC officials say it’s unlikely that a virus or bacteria is the culprit. No one has identified any particular product that might be sickening people, either.
CDC director Robert Redfield said “Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavourings, nicotine, cannabinoids and solvents.”
The president of the American Vaping Association, Gregory Conley, said in a statement on Thursday that he was “confident” the illnesses were being caused by devices containing cannabis or other synthetic drugs, not nicotine.
At least two people have previously died in the US after their e-cigarette exploded in their face.