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The mysterious spate of vaping-related illnesses and deaths continues to grow.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that 530 people in the US have been struck with lung illnesses tied to vaping, or using e-cigarettes, in 38 states and one territory. The illnesses have claimed eight lives, and doctors and other health experts fear there could be more on the way.

The FDA is launching a criminal probe into the matter, the agency said on Thursday in a call with reporters. 

As of Sept. 17, about two-thirds of the cases were in people between the ages of 18 and 34, and another 16% were in people under 18. Roughly 75% of the cases have been reported in men.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced it will push for a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol flavors.

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement

The administration has separately recommended that people not use e-cigarettes.

“While the investigation is ongoing, CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes, because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing the severe lung disease,” Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman of the CDC said on a press call earlier in September, reports Business Insider’s Hilary Brueck.

While it’s not yet clear what exactly is causing these illnesses, it seems to affect younger people — mostly men — who are vaporizing cannabinoids like THC.

The culprit, according to some experts, might be chemicals like vitamin-E acetate that are used to emulsify THC and CBD in illegal, unregulated vaporizers.

“Even if most lung-injury cases are traced to chemicals used to emulsify THC or CBD into illegal vaping ‘juices,’ it doesn’t let legally sold, nicotine-based e-cigs off the hook. They must do more to ensure safety of their products by engaging review process and ending youth use,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner.

Here’s what officials knew when. We’ll update this as more information comes to light

August 17:

Associated Press

CDC officials say they are actively investigating almost 94 cases of vape-related illnesses in 14 states. That number would grow to 200 cases in 22 states.

Officials haven’t yet determined the specific causes of the illness, but it is thought that oils and chemicals used to emulsify THC, CBD, and nicotine in illicit vapes is to blame. 

August 23:

Associated Press

 The first vape-related death is reported in Illinois.

The person, who has remained unnamed, was hospitalized with severe breathing difficulties, according to officials. He was reportedly using e-cigarettes to consume nicotine. 

September 3:


Oregon’s Health Authority says it is investigating the death of an individual with a severe respiratory illness following the use of an e-cigarette.

While officials have not yet determined the root cause of the middle-aged person’s illness, he had reportedly fallen ill after vaporizing marijuana oil purchased at a legal cannabis dispensary, reports The Associated Press

September 4:

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, writes an editorial in The Washington Post urging federal officials to take action in investigating the causes of these illnesses and deaths.

“Bright lines must be drawn between less-harmful ingredients and those that cause undue risk. That would arm regulators with the information to crack down on illegal and dangerous vape juices. It’s also time to end the political ambivalence that allows THC and CBD to evade oversight,” Gottlieb wrote. 

September 6:

Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Indiana health officials confirm a third vape-related death. Shortly afterward, officials in Minnesota confirm a fourth, and then a fifth in California.

Like the other deaths, officials have yet to determine a root cause. However, the 65-year old Minnesota man had a history of lung disease. He fell ill after vaping an “illicit” THC product, The New York Times reports

September 6:

Wikimedia Commons

Acting FDA Chief Ned Sharpless says “Our investigation into the concerning reports of respiratory illness and deaths associated w/ vaping is a top priority for FDA and our federal, state, local health partners. We’re working tirelessly to gather and analyze information about these incidents,” on Twitter

Sen. Minority Whip Dick Durbin pushed Sharpless to act quicker in a letter addressed to Sharpless on Friday

September 10:

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Officials from the Kansas Department of Health announce the sixth vape-related death of a man “over the age of 50.”

“If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop. The recent deaths across our country, combined with hundreds of reported lung injury cases continue to intensify,” Secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman said in a statement.

September 11:

Erin Scott/Reuters

The Trump Administration announces it’s pushing for a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes in the US, including mint and menthol flavors.

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

September 12:

Reuters / Brendan McDermid

The CDC released new numbers on the outbreak, with 380 confirmed and probable cases of illness in 26 states since June. Six people have died, the agency said.

The new illness numbers are slightly lower than previous figures because they include only cases that investigators have confirmed or come close to confirming.

September 15:


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes, except tobacco and menthol.

“These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people,” the Democratic governor said at a press conference in Manhattan.

New York is the second state behind Michigan to issue a ban. 

September 19:


The FDA announces it is conducting a criminal probe into the spate of vape-related illnesses and deaths, as the toll stands at 530 individuals with lung disease and 8 deaths.

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