Two more deaths and 163 new cases of vaping-related lung illnesses were reported this week.
On Thursday, November 7, the CDC released the Latest Outbreak Information report for vaping-related illnesses and fatalities and the news was grim.
With an additional 163 new cases reported this week, there are now 2,051 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) in the US. California, Texas and Illinois have the highest number of reported cases while Alaska is the only state without a single reported case.
Vaping Deaths Rise Again
The CDC update also revealed that there have been 39 EVALI deaths—up from 37 deaths last week. The average age of the deceased was 53 and ranged from 17 to 75.
Officials remain unsure of the exact cause of EVALI though they speculate there may be multiple factors involved.
“The only commonality among all cases is that patients report the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products,” the CDC noted. “No one compound or ingredient has emerged as the cause of these illnesses to date; and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation.”
A number of states have taken action against vaping in 2019. In September, Massachusetts issued a temporary ban against the sale of vaping products in a bid to stave off mounting cases of EVALI. The ban is set to last for four months but due to a recent ruling by a Superior Court Judge, the state will not be able to prohibit medical marijuana users from vaping THC, according to NPR.
Vaping has also been in the spotlight due to its rise in underage users. Teen vaping has become a public health issue as e-cig companies like Juul have been hit hard by allegations that they’re marketing their flavored products to underage consumers.
The Trump administration is reportedly finalizing plans to ban the sale of flavored vape products with the exception of mint and tobacco-flavors. Mint, according to a new study by the National Institutes on Health, is a favorite flavor among underage vapers.
“These findings underscore why the Trump Administration must stand strong and implement its plan to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.