US health officials said on Thursday there are now 530 confirmed and probable cases and seven deaths from severe lung-related illnesses tied to e-cigarettes, and there are no signs that the mysterious outbreak is easing.
The figure has risen from 380 cases reported a week ago and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now investigating 150 vaping products and substances and said it has activated its criminal investigations arm to explore the supply chain of vaping products and identify the cause of the outbreak.
No individual vapers will be targeted, Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s center for tobacco products said on Thursday and added that no single substance or compound, including THC or Vitamin E acetate, has been linked to all of the cases so far.
Seven people have died from vaping-related illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. The deaths were reported in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon.
Illinois has reported an eighth death related to the outbreak, state epidemiologist Jennifer Layden said on a conference call with reporters. The CDC has not yet confirmed that death.
Layden said Illinois has now reported 69 cases, up from 52 a week ago, and the state continues to get reports of new cases daily.
Donald Trump said last week his administration will propose banning thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes to combat a recent surge in underage vaping.
All patients in the recent outbreak currently under investigation had used an electronic cigarette or other vaping device. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance.
Two-thirds of the cases involved 18- to 34-year-olds. Most are men.
Some of the first cases appeared in April. CDC hasn’t said when people most people got sick.