CDC, FDA report on severe pulmonary disease associated with using e-cigarette products

CDC and FDA officials reported Friday that 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with use of e-cigarette products have been recorded in 25 states. Additional cases are under investigation. In a joint statement, CDC Director Robert R.

CDC and FDA officials reported Friday that 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with use of e-cigarette products have been recorded in 25 states. Additional cases are under investigation. In a joint statement, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, provided updates on their efforts with state officials to investigate these incidents. "While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the respiratory illnesses," they said. Many of the cases began with a gradual start of symptoms, include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain prior to hospitalization. Some cases also reported mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal illness, including vomiting and diarrhea, or other symptoms such as fevers or fatigue. In many cases, the patients also reported recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarette products. "CDC and the FDA are providing consultation to state health departments and working closely with them to gather information on any products or substances used," said Redfield and Sharpless. CDC is helping states investigate whether the illnesses may be associated with specific devices, ingredients, or contaminants in the devices, or substances linked to e-cigarette use, with help from FDA. FDA has also been providing laboratory assistance. CDC issued on Friday a Health Alert Network Health Advisory which includes the recommendation that while the investigation continues, individuals who are concerned about these specific health risks should consider refraining from using e-cigarette products. "Anyone who uses e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street (e.g., e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids) and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer," the CDC and FDA officials also warn. "Regardless of the ongoing investigation, e-cigarette products should not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products."