26 dead from vaping-related lung illness

Photo: Yui Mok - PA Images/Contributor/Getty Images

26 people have died from a lung injury associated with e-cigarette use in 21 states, after a 17-year-old male's Oct. 4 death was made public on Tuesday, per AP.

What's happening: Deaths have occurred in Alabama, California (2), Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas (2), Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon (2) and Virginia — with the latest in New York and Massachusetts.

The big picture: The CDC reported 1,299 confirmed and probable cases of severe respiratory illnesses as of Oct. 8 among those who vaped nicotine or cannabis products in 49 states, DC and 1 U.S. territory. Officials say that number is expected to continue rising.

Where it stands: The CDC maintains that no single e-cigarette product or compound has been linked to the pulmonary illnesses and says there is no evidence that an infectious disease is the culprit.

  • In Massachusetts, the death of a woman in her 60s was reported on Oct. 7 as the state's first vaping-related death. The state currently has a 4-month ban on all vaping products, the harshest ban in the U.S.
  • In Georgia, a patient with a history of heavy nicotine vaping, but no reported history of vaping THC, died, Georgia's Department of Health said.
  • A Kansas man over age 50 with "underlying health conditions" died from a lung-related illness linked to vaping, according to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.
  • A Missouri man in his mid-40s died from the illness, according to the state's Department of Health and Senior Services. The deceased in Kansas were both over 50 years old.

What they're saying: "This cluster of illnesses represents an emerging clinical syndrome" and points to a "worrisome" trend, physicians and health officials wrote on Sept. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • "It is possible that some of these cases were already occurring and we were not picking them up" prior to the agency's investigation into the illnesses, the director for the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller, said last in August.

Go deeper: U.S. investigates fatality from vaping as lung-related illnesses rise