In Brief

Vaping Outbreak Death Toll Climbs to More Than 2 Dozen

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More than two dozen people have died in connection with an outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses across the U.S.

Today (Oct. 10), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the outbreak's death toll has climbed to 26, up from 18 deaths reported last week. The recent deaths include that of a 17-year-old in New York, who is now the youngest victim of the outbreak.

The size of the outbreak also increased to nearly 1,300 cases in 49 states, up from 1,080 cases in 48 states reported last week, the CDC said. (Alaska is now the only state not reporting any vaping-related lung illnesses, according to CDC data.)

The majority of those affected by the outbreak are young people, with about 80% of cases occurring in people under age 35.

Officials believe a "chemical exposure" is likely behind these illnesses, Live Science previously reported. But it's still unclear what chemicals or contaminants are to blame. Recently, the CDC said that THC-containing products may play an important role in these illnesses, with more than three-quarters of patients nationwide reporting use of vaping products containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Symptoms of the vaping-related lung illnesses include shortness of breath, cough and chest pain, and in some cases, nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss after vaping.

While the investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, the CDC recommends that people refrain from using e-cigarettes or vaping products, particularly those containing THC.

Originally published on Live Science. 

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.