The first death potentially linked to vaping has been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The death involved an individual who vaped not long before being admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory illness, and later died. The CDC did not release the name, age or gender of the deceased.

“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike during a press briefing Friday.

As of Aug. 22, the CDC has received 193 reports of cases of severe lung disease in 22 states possibly linked to vaping. Most are among adolescents and young adults. Currently in Illinois, there are 22 cases of severe unexplained respiratory illness in patients who had recently vaped, and an additional 12 that may be linked to vaping. The patients range in age from 17 to 38, and most are male.

Dr. Ilena Arias, acting deputy director for non-infectious diseases at the CDC, said that in many of the cases the symptoms came on gradually and involved symptoms such as breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain. Some cases also involved mild to moderate vomiting and diarrhea, and in some cases, fatigue. Arias said there is no evidence that suggests the symptoms are caused by an infectious disease.

Many of the patients had reported using vaping products that contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, no specific product was singled out that would conclusively link it to the illnesses.

“While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing these illnesses,” Arias said.

Doctors and consumers are urged to report any unexpected tobacco or vaping-related health issues to the FDA, with as much detail as possible.

Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are currently representing several individuals who are suing JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. Most of the plaintiffs became addicted to JUUL as minors and some of them have started smoking regular cigarettes to satisfy their nicotine addiction when JUUL pods aren’t accessible.

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