CDC Finds Clinical Similarities In Illness Among E-Cigarette Users

On August 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an investigation into the recent cases of vaping-associated pulmonary (lung-related) illnesses which have been reported across the United States.

Initial findings are showing clinical similarities between cases as patients have reported similar exposures and symptoms which align with a CDC advisory released on August 30.

CDC has been working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multiple states, clinicians, and other public health partners to determine the cause of the illnesses.

More than 25 states have reported possible cases of vaping-related pulmonary illness and two deaths have been reported to the CDC.

CDC director Robert Redfield says that all available information is being analyzed and initial findings are helping narrow the focus of the investigation and get closer to the answers needed to save lives.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in following any potential leads and we’re committed to taking appropriate actions as the facts emerge,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “Our laboratory is working closely with our federal and state partners to identify the products or substances that may be causing the illnesses and have received more than 120 samples from the states so far. The FDA is analyzing these for a broad range of chemicals but no one substance, including Vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested.”

Sharpless says that identifying any compounds that are present in the samples will be a piece of the puzzle but won’t necessarily answer all questions about causality, emphasizing the critical nature of the FDA’s work to find the root cause of the pulmonary illnesses.

According to the CDC, no evidence of infectious diseases has been observed in any patients, likely associating the illnesses with chemical exposure.

CDC says that it is too early in the investigation to point to any one product or substance as the common culprit behind all cases of pulmonary illness.

Many patients have reported using THC-containing vaping devices while some used nicotine-only vapes and others used both.

CDC suggests that people consider refraining from using e-cigarettes and other vaping products while the investigation is ongoing and to seek medical attention if they begin to exhibit any related symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or fever.