6 dead from vaping-related lung illness

A man vaping and puffing out smoke
Photo: Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press/Getty Images

Kansas health authorities confirmed on Tuesday that a sixth person has died from a lung-related illness linked to vaping, reports the Washington Post.

What's happening: There are 450 possible cases of the illnesses across 33 states, and deaths have occurred in Kansas, Indiana, Minnesota, California, Oregon and Illinois, per the Post. The CDC maintains that no single e-cigarette product or compound has been linked to the illnesses and says there is no evidence that an infectious disease is the culprit.

  • The fatality is Kansas is at least the fourth reported in a middle-aged or elderly person, per the Post.

Why it matters: "This cluster of illnesses represents an emerging clinical syndrome" and points to a "worrisome" trend, physicians and health officials wrote Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The big picture: “We’re all wondering if this is new or just newly recognized,” the CDC's Dana Meaney-Delman told reporters on Friday, per the AP.

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

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