A 15-year-old in Texas is now the youngest person in the US who dies from the vape-related disease that has claimed the lives of a total of 57 people nationwide, officials said Thursday.
Starting on Thursday, 2,602 people have been admitted to the hospital with e-cigarette-related diseases in every US state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Most victims are male and younger than 35, with ages of those who died ranging from 15 to 75.
Increases in the number of cases appear to be delayed, but the diseases continue to prevail and are serious.
The CDC announced on Thursday that 2,602 people have fallen ill in every US state and 57 people have died in 27 states (red) and DC due to mysterious pulmonary lung disease. There is one unconfirmed death in Texas.
The 57 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and DC, with Georgia, Illinois, and Indiana with the highest number of deaths by vape at five each.
Four deaths have each been confirmed in California; three dead each in Massachusetts and Minnesota; and two deaths each confirmed in Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee.
In the meantime, at least one death has been confirmed in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC.
According to the CDC, about 83 percent of people who have fallen ill reported THC, the most important psychoactive component in marijuana.
For comparison: only 13 percent reported exclusive use of products containing nicotine.
CDC officials say there is “confidence” that vitamin E acetate, a diluent used in many THC evaporation products, is behind the diseases.
It was detected in 48 of 51 samples from tissues of patients with – what is called – EVALI (e-cigarette or vape product-related lung disease).
“This is a serious clinical condition that affects young people across the country and is completely preventable,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s Deputy Director, at a press conference last month.
“It is clear that the outbreak is a new phenomenon and not a recognition of a common syndrome that had escaped our attention.”
Although vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or for use on the skin, breathing in greasy drops can be harmful.
It is sticky and stays in the lungs, so bad that Dr. James Pirkle from the CDC compared it to honey.
Scientists theorized that the oil possibly covered the lungs and caused inflammation and damage.
In fact, it causes burns compared to those of soldiers attacked with mustard gas during the First World War.
Last week the US Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on most flavored e-cigarettes in an attempt to curb the rise of youth vapor.
Only two flavors, menthol and tobacco, are sold in stores.
The CDC has not changed its warning against the use of these illegal products and continues to encourage Americans who do not use e-cigarettes not to start.
Although the agency says smokers who have switched to vape should not return to the use of flammable cigarettes, the CDC also recommends using vape “never used by young people, young adults, or pregnant women.”