Number of vaping-related lung illnesses nears 1,500

Number of vaping-related lung illnesses nears 1,500

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday announced it has confirmed nearly 1,500 cases of vaping-related illnesses across the U.S., including 33 deaths, since the outbreak began earlier this year. 

That's an increase of 180 cases, and seven deaths, from last week. 

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The CDC still doesn't know what is causing the illnesses and hasn't identified a brand or substance tied to all cases. 

But it acknowledges that THC vaping products, particularly those purchased from the black market, seem to be playing a large role. 

According to the CDC, of the 849 patients for whom information is available, 78 percent had reported vaping THC products before becoming sick, with or without using nicotine-containing products.

Thirty-one percent of patients said they had only vaped THC while 10 percent said they had only vaped nicotine.

The 33 deaths have occurred in 24 states, including three fatalities each in California, Indiana and Minnesota. 

The Food and Drug Administration is testing samples of the products used by patients for THC, cannabinoids, nicotine, opioids, cutting agents like vitamin E acetate, pesticides, poisons, heavy metals and toxins. 

The CDC announced Thursday it is now running new tests for chemicals on the lung fluids, blood and urine from some patients.