New concerning data has been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – in October there was an increase of 202 cases of vape-related lung injuries per week, which means there were more than 800 incidents in just 31 days. The total death toll from these injuries has now reached 48, with injury and death rates showing no signs of slowing down.
Since the agency began investigating vape-related lung injuries, 2,291 total incidents have been reported. In October alone, 24 of the 48 total deaths occurred. Most of the affected patients reported using THC (the active compound in marijuana) products, though some were using e-cigarettes with nicotine cartridges or inserts.
Vaping, or using e-cigarettes and other similar products, has become more and more popular in recent years. Manufacturers have designed an array of vaping devices, which allow users to inhale different types of vapors into their lungs. Some products are nicotine-based (many of which are flavored), while others contain THC. One of the biggest dangers associated with vaping products is that there are not comprehensive enough regulations in place to ensure that the safest possible additives or chemicals are used.
The CDC estimates that at least 9 million American adults regularly use vape products. Although the legal age limit for purchasing vapes is 18, the CDC says nearly 40% of high school students have tried vaping at least once – and almost 15% of middle school students give the same answer. The agency also believes that far more middle and high school aged students have tried vaping than admit to doing it, since the figures were self-reported.
In an effort to more fully understand and combat this alarming trend of vaping-related health hazards, the CDC has updated its method for tracking and analyzing serious and deadly injuries. The agency will continue to investigate EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury – but it will only be reporting cases where patients were hospitalized or died. The CDC will also begin working more closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to identify possible dangerous supply chains based on where clusters of vape-related lung injury outbreaks occur.
A representative from the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health said: “we know there is something new, a recent change that has caused this illness,” but the agency has not yet identified the source(s). Until the agency has found the culprit, it is advising people to stay away from all vaping e-cigarettes and THC vape products (particularly those that are purchased online or through illegal sources).
Although the CDC and FDA do not know what changes have occurred in vape products to cause the frightening increase in lung injuries and deaths, the agencies do know that the products are extremely dangerous – and far too often, deadly. E-cigarette users not only inhale potentially harmful vapors, chemicals, and other additives, but they also risk physical harm resulting from product defects and design flaws. In numerous instances, users have experienced serious burns – and some have even died – after their defective or unreasonably unsafe e-cigarettes exploded and started a fire.
E-cigarette and vape device users have experienced an array of lung injuries since the products became popular. Some of the most common injuries reported include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and vape or use e-cigarettes, make an appointment with your doctor. We will keep our readers updated as this story continues to develop.
If you were injured or became ill because of an unsafe or defective product, please contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.