Third e-cigarette death prompts CDC warning

A third person has died after using an e-cigarette product, reports say.

Since August, there have 450 confirmed or suspected lung illnesses in people who used either tobacco or marijuana e-cigarettes, and a third death from the condition was confirmed Friday. Photo by Lindsay Fox/Wikimedia Commons

The death of an unidentified person with a history of vaping resulted from a severe lung injury, the Indiana State Health Department announced Thursday. This death comes amid a nationwide investigation into widespread illnesses in e-cigarette users and a lung condition that appears to be connected to their use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — along with the Food and Drug Administration, state and local health officials — began investigating illnesses that might be related to e-cigarette throughout the United States on Aug. 1.

To date, 450 confirmed or suspected cases of illnesses connected to vaping products have been reported in 33 states, CDC officials told reporters during a teleconference.


“We are committed to finding out what is making people sick,” said Robert R. Redfield, MD, director of the CDC. “All available information is being carefully analyzed, and these initial findings are helping us narrow the focus of our investigation and get us closer to the answers needed to save lives.”

On Thursday, tests from multiple health officials suggest an extract from vitamin E, known as vitamin E acetate, may have caused some of the respiratory illnesses in some patients using cartridges. Others may have resulted from other contaminants being used in the vaping products.

However, the CDC said it’s too soon to conclude what caused these illnesses.


“Our laboratory is working closely with our federal and state partners to identify the products or substances that may be causing the illnesses and have received more than 120 samples from the states so far,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. “The FDA is analyzing these for a broad range of chemicals but no one substance, including Vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested.”

In the meantime, the agency suggests people “consider not using e-cigarette products,” and those who choose to use them should monitor themselves for health symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.

The agency also recommends that “people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.”

ByTauren Dyson