The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with several states has been conducting an ongoing investigation into illnesses and deaths believed to be caused by e-cigarettes. While there are still no conclusive findings, the government agency has warned the public to stop using e-cigarettes for fear of further illness.
In a press conference on Friday, the CDC confirmed it’s aware of approximately 450 cases nationwide. They confirmed three deaths and noted another is under investigation.
The mysterious lung condition presents with coughing, shortness of breath, nausea and stomach pain. The CDC has established a protocol so that other lung diseases and infections can be ruled out before the case will be linked to the investigation.
The CDC is working alongside state health officials to determine exactly what chemical or chemicals are contributing to the rash of illnesses. In a statement, Dr. Ileana Arias of the CDC said, “Please know that we are working tirelessly to understand these and other avenues to understand these illnesses and their cause and to learn how they can be prevented.”
Since the investigation is still ongoing, the CDC has urged people to consider ceasing the use of all cigarettes. Dr. Dana Meaney Delman, who is serving as the incident manager of CDC’s response to this outbreak urges, “While the investigation is ongoing, CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing this type of severe lung disease. And of course e-cigarette use is never safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women.”
Delman also asked those who do use e-cigarettes to be especially vigilant seeking medical attention if they exhibit any of the symptoms, “People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or others) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.”
This latest warning by the CDC is one of many cautionary acts taken by the government against vaping in recent months. Last week Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The CDC and FDA are currently working together to gather all relevant information and are expected to release a report in the New England Journal of Medicine outlining the specifics of the disease they’re studying, believed to be linked to e-cigarettes.