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Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

The number of possible cases of severe respiratory illnesses among people who vaped nicotine or cannabis products has jumped by nearly 50% to 530 in 38 states and 1 territory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Why it matters: There have been 8 confirmed deaths related to e-cigarette use, but no single product or substance has been definitively tied to the illnesses, the CDC said in its media briefing. This includes products purchased from unauthorized retailers. The CDC still advises that people should avoid using e-cigarettes.

“I wish we had more answers ... I know this is very frustrating for the public. This is very frustrating for us. This is a complex investigation."
— Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at CDC

The CDC, Food and Drug Administration and individual states are having difficulty given the inconsistency of the cases. Some people are unable to talk about their illness given their symptoms, and in other cases, people are hesitant to disclose using illicit products.

  • The CDC says nearly three-quarters of patients are male, and two-thirds are 18–34 years old.
  • On Sept. 12, there were 380 cases in 36 states and 1 territory.
  • Most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC. Many patients have reported using marijuana and nicotine, while some reported the use of e-cigarette products containing only nicotine.
  • The FDA said Thursday that the agency's Office of Criminal Investigations has been pursuing a parallel investigation since the illnesses were first reported.

Background: Many states and the White House are pushing major anti-vaping efforts. Individual states are testing everything from banning flavored cartridges to public service announcements aimed at teens.

  • New data released Wednesday by the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirmed that the number of 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders using e-cigarettes has doubled in the past 2 years.

What to watch: The agencies expect the number of deaths to rise.

Go deeper: The global anti-vaping tipping point

Go deeper

24 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 30 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.