In Brief

Vaping Is Causing Severe Breathing Problems in Some Teens

A vape pen and refill pod.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

UPDATE: On Aug. 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it is now investigating a cluster of lung illnesses tied to vaping. There are currently 94 possible cases in 14 states. Live Science published this article (below) on Aug. 14.

Adolescents and young adults in the Midwest are landing in hospitals after developing severe breathing problems from vaping, and no one knows why. 

A total of 22 people in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois have been hospitalized after vaping, according to NBC News. That includes the eight cases reported in Wisconsin at the end of July, according to a previous Live Science report

The patients reported cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The teens' symptoms progressively worsened before they arrived at the hospital.

One patient in Wisconsin had to be put in a medically induced coma after his lungs began filling with fluid. He has since been discharged and is currently recovering, according to NBC News.

Related: 4 Myths About E-Cigarettes

It's unclear what these cases have in common, other than vaping. But state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working to identify the e-cigarettes that the teens had used and what chemicals the patients might have inhaled, according to the statement.

The FDA doesn't require e-cigarette makers to list the ingredients of their products. What's more, some of the teens may have purchased vaping products off the street rather than in shops, according to NBC News. 

"The short- and long-term effects of vaping are still being researched, but these recent hospitalizations have shown that there is the potential for immediate health consequences," Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in the statement. 

Editor's Note: This article was updated to clarify that these cases were mostly among adolescents and young adults.

Originally published on Live Science.

Yasemin Saplakoglu
Staff Writer

Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, covering health, neuroscience and biology. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.