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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

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.