The Illinois Department of Public Health announced a fourth death related to the use of vaping products.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike made the announcement this week. The IDPH reports that 179 people in Illinois, between the ages of 13 and 75, have reported lung injuries after using e-cigarettes or vaping. Another 41 possible cases are still under investigation.
The Centers for Disease Control has named vaping related lung injuries EVALI.
Consistent with the three other related deaths in Illinois, the state public health officials said that in order to protect the identity of the affected individuals, no other information about the deaths will be made public. Officials said additional information will be shared once it becomes available.
Ezike said 80 percent of patients that have experienced vaping related injuries have reported vaping THC, the chemical in marijuana that produces a high. She warned of the dangers of illicit vaping.
“We strongly urge people not to use e-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC, especially those obtained through informal sources like off the street or online dealers,” she said.
Officials say that of the cases that involve the use of THC-containing products, the users primarily obtained the products from informal sources such as friends, family members, and illicit dealers.
CDC laboratory results of fluid collected from the lungs of 29 EVALI patients had found vitamin E acetate in all samples. Officials say Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive in the production of e-cigarette or vaping products. The IDPH said this discovery identifies the first potential comical of concern in biologic samples from patients. Additionally, the IDPH reported that while it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, there is not yet enough evidence to rule out other chemicals of concern.
Ezike said anyone who has recently used a vaping product should be cautious of symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Cases have been reported in 32 Illinois counties.
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