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Nearly 1,500 people report mysterious vaping illness

EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

There are 1,479 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury in 49 states and 33 deaths associated with e-cigarette use, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

The big picture: Additional patient lab tests have taken place related to a variety of vape products used. Little progress has been made in uncovering the specific cause of these respiratory illnesses, though CDC officials say that THC vape products have been linked to a majority of patients with vaping-related lung injuries.

  • The CDC's investigation still has not identified any specific e-cigarette or vaping product or substance linked to all cases.

By the numbers, based on the latest information from 849 patients:

  • About 78% reported using THC-containing products, with or without nicotine-containing products; 31% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.
  • About 70% of patients are male, about 80% of the patients are under 35 years old.

The impact: In September, Juul’s CEO resigned, as the company announced it would suspend all broadcast, print and digital advertising of its products in the U.S.

Meanwhile, individual states are cracking down on vaping products with a variety of proposals and bans. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a statewide public health emergency last month and called for a four-month ban on all vaping products, the harshest measure in the country so far.

  • Los Angeles County also banned the sale of flavored tobacco products.
  • The U.S. Army is also treating two active-duty soldiers in its medical facilities for vaping-related lung illness. Most of the military has banned e-cigarette sales at base exchanges, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Schools across the country are also going after Juul with lawsuits, alleging the manufacturer put a major burden on institutions for wooing kids to vape their products, NPR reports.
  • Juul has not been connected to the illnesses but owns a large portion of the e-cigarette market share.