There are 2,172 confirmed and probable lung injury cases associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products were reported by 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Alaska is the only state without a reported case, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said Thursday that 42 deaths have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia: Alabama, California (4), Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia (3), Illinois (4), Indiana (4), Kansas (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan, Minnesota (3), Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon (2), Pennsylvania, Tennessee (2), Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
The median age of deceased patients was 52-years-old and ranged from 17 to 75 years old, CDC said.
The CDC has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). Recent CDC laboratory testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (fluid samples collected from the lungs) from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all of the samples. Vitamin E acetate might be used as an additive, most notably as a thickening agent in THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
“While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other chemicals of concern to EVALI. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak,” CDC said.
The CDC recommends that people should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers. Until the relationship of vitamin E acetate and lung health is better understood, vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
In addition, people should not add any substance to e-cigarette or vaping products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments. CDC will continue to update guidance, as appropriate, as new data become available from this outbreak investigation, CDC said.