Almost 100 cases of mysterious lung illnesses across 14 US states have been linked to vaping by health officials – including products containing cannabis.
Many of the patients are teens and young adults and symptoms include difficulty breathing, a cough, vomiting, fever and chest pain, reports the Washington Post. Many of those affected have been hospitalised and some were placed on ventilators.
At least 31 cases have been confirmed and dozens more are under investigation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the paper officials are working with health departments in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin after “a cluster of pulmonary illnesses linked to e-cigarette use”.
CDC officials said they were probing 94 possible cases in 14 states but there is no evidence of an infectious disease.
Patients have described vaping a variety of substances, including nicotine and cannabis-based products. The outbreak has not been linked to a single source.
E-cigarettes are generally thought to be safer than cigarettes, which kill up to half of all lifetime users, according to the World Health Organization.
But the long-term health effects of the devices are still largely unknown. In April, the US Food and Drug Administration began an investigation into seizures among e-cigarette users.
Emily Chapman, chief medical officer at Children’s Minnesota, which has cared for four teens with lung illnesses, told the Washington Post: “We haven’t had that kind of history with vaping to be able to assure anyone — teens included — that this is a safe practice.”