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Fourth Illinois resident dies after vaping-related injury

SPRINGFIELD (WSIL) — A fourth Illinoisan has died after being hospitalized with lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

At this time, a total of 179 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 13 to 75 years old, have experienced lung injuries after using e-cigarettes or vaping. IDPH continues to work with local health departments to investigate another 41 possible cases in Illinois.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike:

The growing number of fatalities underscores the severity of these illnesses. We continue to work with local and federal partners to investigate the cause of this outbreak, and while recent results of lung fluid testing have provided a breakthrough in the investigation, there still may be other causes. We strongly urge people not to use e-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC, especially those obtained through informal sources like off the street or online dealers.

Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory results of fluid collected from the lungs of 29 patients found vitamin E acetate in all of the samples. Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive in the production of e-cigarette or vaping products. This is the first identification of a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries. However, while it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with the patients, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out other chemicals of concern.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is present in most of the samples tested by the Food and Drug Administration to date, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing products.

More than 80 percent of the cases in Illinois report recent use of THC-containing products, primarily obtaining them from informal sources. 

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