Disease & Illness

The CDC Is Investigating A Death From A Mysterious Lung Disease That May Be Related To Vaping

This is an important read.

Health officials nationwide are investigating the link between vaping and serious respiratory illnesses after the death of an Illinois man and dozens of other hospitalizations across the country.

In a statement about the man’s death issued on Aug. 23, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said that the number of people who reported using e-cigarettes or vaping — and who were also hospitalized with respiratory symptoms — doubled in the previous week. The number totaled 22 people ranging in age from 17 to 38.


“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,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in the statement.

Separately, in a media briefing also on Aug. 23, Ileana Arias, Ph.D., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that 193 potential cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette product use were reported by 22 states.

New Study Shows E-Cigarettes Less Dangerous Than Smoking
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

The CDC is providing consultations to state health departments about a “cluster of pulmonary illnesses having to do with vaping or e-cigarette use,” she said.

A spokeswoman with the IDPH told USA Today that the death of the Illinois man is the first vaping-related mortality, though an autopsy has not been released. However, other users have experienced problematic health issues.

electronic cigarettes photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

The symptoms experienced by those who have been hospitalized include coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue. Some have also experienced vomiting and diarrhea, with symptoms worsening before admission to the hospital.

The tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products, said Robert R. Redfield, M.D., Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement.


“Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms, including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents,” said Redfield.

The CDC has been warning about both the proven and potential dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping since these products emerged, reminding the public that e-cigarettes are not safe, he pointed out.


The CDC has identified e-cigarettes as an emerging public health challenge. But it remains to be seen as to whether the agency will amend information on its website that reads:

“E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.”


E-cigarettes contain nicotine, ultra-fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical that is linked to serious lung disease and other cancer-causing chemicals, according to the CDC.

Plus, they contain heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.


Have you experienced any troubling symptoms after vaping?