Sixty-four people have died and 2,758 have been hospitalized due to vaping-related lung injuries, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Deaths have occurred 28 states and hospitalizations have been recorded in all 50 as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
About 66% of patients have been male, and the median age is 24. Among those who have died, the median age is 51.
Cases peaked in September and have been declining. This may be due to increased public awareness, law enforcement crackdowns on illicit products and removal of vitamin E acetate from some products, according to the CDC. Researchers found a link between the lung injuries and vitamin E acetate, which sometimes is used as a diluent in THC vaping products, although officials are not ruling out other contributing chemicals.
Roughly 82% of hospitalized patients used a vaping product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), according to the CDC. Among those who provided data on their source, 78% acquired them from informal sources like family/friends, dealers or the internet. Teens were more likely to use these informal sources than adults.
Patients have complained of difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and/or chest pain. Some also experienced diarrhea, vomiting, fever and fatigue.
The CDC encourages clinicians to consider vaping-related illnesses in patients with lung disease, collect detailed information on the products patients were using and report suspected cases to their state health department.