Outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with using e-cigarette products

Post Date:09/01/2019 1:36 PM

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, clinical and public health partners are investigating a multi-state outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) product use.

This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a cause, but all reported cases have a history of using e-cigarette products including devices, liquids, refill pods and/ or cartridges.

E-cigarettes are devices that deliver an aerosol to the user by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver marijuana and other substances.

As of Aug. 27, 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes products have been reported by 25 states and additional pulmonary illnesses are under investigation.

These are preliminary case counts based on initial reports. A new standardized case definition was released by CDC on Aug. 25. Additional reports of pulmonary illness are being investigated by states to determine whether those illnesses are related to e-cigarette product use. These numbers are likely to change over time.

The investigation has not identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to all cases. Many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These investigations are ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Patients in this investigation have reported symptoms including cough, shortness of breath or diarrhea, fatigue, fever or weight loss. Some patients have reported their symptoms developed over a few days while others have reported their symptoms developed over several weeks. A pulmonary infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms, which have generally not improved with antibiotic treatment alone.

While this investigation is ongoing, if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider not using e-cigarette products.

If you do use e-cigarette products and you experience symptoms, seek medical care promptly. CDC and the FDA will continue to alert the public throughout this investigation.

Regardless of the ongoing investigation:

  • Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products.
  • Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
  • If you do use e-cigarette products, you should not buy these products off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids).
  • You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor or other medical provider.

If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

CDC and FDA encourage the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected health or product issues related to tobacco or e-cigarette products to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal.

For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

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