In response to growing number of e-cigarette respiratory illness reports, federal health officials issued new safety warnings about the serious risk of e-cigarette users developing severe respiratory illnesses. On August 30, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety communication stating there are currently at least 215 e-cigarette respiratory illness cases reported across 25 states. Additional cases of pulmonary problems are under investigation to determine whether they too are linked to e-cigarette use.
While federal investigators look into the common cause for the e-cigarette respiratory illnesses, the FDA urges that concerned individuals should consider abstaining from e-cigarette product use. In the safety communication, the FDA warns to not purchase e-cigarette products off the street, especially if the products contain cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Additionally, the FDA states that e-cigarette products should not be altered to take cannabinoids, nor should any substance be added to an e-cigarette product that the manufacturer did not intend.
Similarly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released a health advisory the same day as the FDA, asking doctors to question patients who report using an e-cigarette within the last 90 days if they experienced symptoms or signs of respiratory illness. Of the 215 e-cigarette respiratory illness cases reported, the CDC states all the patients reported using e-cigarette products. While the common e-cigarette product or substance linking the cases together is still unknown, the CDC warns e-cigarette users of the symptoms of e-cigarette respiratory illness, including difficulty breathing, chest pain, fatigue, fever, weight loss, etc.
These health officials’ warnings come in the midst of what experts call a vaping epidemic in the US. E-cigarette use has become increasingly popular in America in the last five years, particularly amongst young adults. The U.S. Surgeon General reported that nationwide, vaping has increased 900% among US middle and high school students between 2011 and 2015. The increased e-cigarette use has resulted in numerous studies revealing the severely dangerous risks of teens and adolescents using e-cigarette products, warning of seizures, respiratory health risks, and pneumonia amongst other adverse health risks.