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Sixth person dies from mystery vaping-related lung illness

Authorities in Kansas have confirmed another death caused by a mystery vaping-related lung disease, making it the sixth vaping death so far in the U.S. 

According to the Washington Post, the Kansas resident was hospitalized after experiencing symptoms that progressed rapidly. The Post reports that the resident was over 50 years old and had a history of pre-existing illnesses. It is not known what type of vaping products the patient used. 

Other deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon. Patients have reported a variety of symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and fever. 

Authorities believe certain vaping products — including THC-infused cartridges — can cause rapid and severe lung-related illnesses that ultimately lead to these deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an announcement on August 30 warning people of the possibly dangerous effects of e-cigarettes. According to the CDC, as of September 6, more than 450 possible vaping-related diseases had been reported spanning 33 states. The CDC warned minors, pregnant woman, young adults, and those who don’t use tobacco to stay away from vaping products. 

The CDC said that it, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is investigating the outbreak of “severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use.”

The FDA separated investigating reports that e-cigarette use could be linked to seizures or other neurological symptoms. The agency plans to implement new restrictions on flavored e-cigarettes and other forms of vaping in 2021.

Amidst the multiple deaths and CDC warnings, some states and cities are taking further action to limit the use of vaping. On September 3, Michigan became the first state to ban flavored electronic cigarettes in response to increased vaping in youth and rising health concerns for all of its residents.

In June, San Francisco became the first city to ban all e-cigarette sales, flavored or otherwise, entirely.

Nicotine vaping products — like the popular brand Juul — often advertise themselves as being a safer and healthier alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. However, studies consistently show e-cigarette smokers are less likely to quit than regular smokers who have never used these kinds of devices.

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