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January 13, 2020

The vaping-linked illness outbreak just claimed its youngest victim, as the number of cases keep climbing

Daily Briefing

    Dallas officials have reported that a 15-year-old patient has died from the vaping-linked lung illness, marking the youngest-reported death from the illness so far in the United States and highlighting the growing issue of youth vaping as cases of the illness continue to rise.

    Cases of vaping-linked lung illness surpass 2.6K

    CDC data updated Tuesday shows the number of reported hospitalized cases of a lung illness officials believe is linked to e-cigarette use and vaping, dubbed EVALI, reached 2,602 as of Jan. 7. There were 57 confirmed deaths related to the vaping illness as of Jan. 7, according to CDC. Cases of the illness have been reported in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and two U.S. territories, with deaths confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

    Anne Schuchat, CDC's principal deputy director, last month said the agency has determined that the majority of cases of EVALI "can be attributed to exposure to [tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)]-containing vaping products [with] vitamin E acetate." THC is the high-inducing chemical found in marijuana.

    However, Schuchat said CDC has not ruled out other potential culprits for the illness. Schuchat said CDC is continuing to investigate the illness and the health effects of e-cigarettes, including the effects of inhaling the aerosol and gases released by e-cigarette fluids.

    Dallas reports youngest death from vaping illness

    Dallas County Health and Human Services last month reported that a 15-year-old died from EVALI in Texas, marking the youngest death due to the illness that's been reported in the United States so far.

    Officials in a statement said the patient had "a chronic underlying medical condition," though they did not identify the condition. Officials also did not reveal which vaping products the patient had been using.

    Officials noted that another teenager had been hospitalized in the Dallas area for the vaping illness after having vaped for only one month.

    Philip Huang, health director for Dallas County, in a statement called the 15 year old's death "tragic." He added that the cases detailed by officials prove "severe lung damage, and even death, can occur with just short-term use" of some vaping products.

    The reports come amid increasing concerns about teen vaping and e-cigarette use in the United States. Data released last month showed the number of teens who reported vaping marijuana and nicotine rose significantly from 2018 to 2019. So far, more than 120 patients with reported lung injuries due to vaping have been under 18. Previously, the youngest-reported patient to die from the illness was 17 (Grady, New York Times, 1/9; Maddipatla/Joseph, Reuters, 1/9; Nedelman, CNN, 1/9; Corum, New York Times, 1/9).

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