In the wake of rising vaping-related deaths, the CDC released a report and vows to determine what is causing illnesses in e-cigarette users.

The Report
The initial findings from CDC’s investigation of five patients in North Carolina with acute lung injury potentially associated with e-cigarette use (e.g., devices, liquids, refill pods and cartridges) point to clinical similarities among those affected.

All five patients shared a history of recent use of e-cigarettes (all five used THC-containing vaping concentrates or oils purchased on the street). Additionally, all five patients were hospitalized for hypoxemic respiratory failure. All patients survived.

According to the CDC, no evidence of infectious diseases has been identified in these patients, therefore lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure. However, it is too early to pinpoint a single product or substance common to all cases. The CDC, FDA, and state partners are combining information about e-cigarette exposures, results from FDA testing of product samples, and clinical testing results to identify a cause or causes of these illnesses.

Our Take
While the investigation into the causes of these lung illnesses is in the early stages we agree with the CDC’s recommendations, which we encourage organizations to share with their employees:

People should consider not using e-cigarette products while the investigation continues. People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

The recommendations above are based on CDC’s preliminary report released on September 6, 2019 and will likely evolve as this is a rapidly evolving issue. When the investigation concludes we will share CDC’s findings and updated recommendations.

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