The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started a criminal probe into vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
The Washington Post reports that the investigation is focusing on the supply chain of vaping products and its possible role in the lung-related illnesses and vaping-related deaths.
“This is a complex investigation that spans many states and involves hundreds of cases and a wide variety of substances and products,” Anne Schuchat, principal duty director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Post. “We at CDC are very concerned about the occurrence of life-threatening illnesses in otherwise healthy people reported from around the country. “
The number of confirmed cases of vaping-related illnesses has increased significantly, from 380 on September 11 to 530 cases of lung injuries on September 19, according to the CDC. About 72% of these cases involve males, and 67% of the cases are patients who are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. Seven deaths are confirmed as the result of vaping use.
The CDC and the FDA don’t know what aspect of vaping is causing disease and death, but officials are looking at vitamin E oil that is added to some THC vaping cartridges as a possible cause. Patients have reported a variety of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and fever.
Experts say that it’s too early to tell about the long-term effects vaping has on the body, and as such, state and federal regulators are taking action to protect and warn the public before the situation gets worse.
Last week, President Donald Trump said he wants to ban flavored e-cigarettes nationwide and issue new regulatory guidance on vapes.
Other states and cities have already implemented a ban on e-cigarettes. Michigan and New York have both banned flavored e-cigarettes, and San Francisco was the first city to ban e-cigarettes entirely.
The CDC warns minors, pregnant woman, young adults, and those who don’t use tobacco to stay away from vaping products.
Digital Trends reached out to the CDC and to the FDA for more information on the investigation, and we’ll update this story as soon as we hear back.
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