78ºF

Vaping-related deaths in Florida, Georgia bring nationwide to 12

US vaping illness count jumps to 805

Hundreds more Americans have been reported to have a vaping-related breathing illness, and the death toll has risen to 12, health officials said Thursday.

Those deaths now include one patient in Georgia and one in Florida.

The person who died in Georgia had a history of heavy nicotine vaping but did not report a history of vaping THC, which was one commonality in some of the other vaping related deaths. Less is known about the Florida vaper who died 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 805 confirmed and probable cases have been reported, up 52% from the 530 reported a week ago. At this point, illnesses have occurred in almost every state.

The other confirmed deaths include two in California, two in Kansas, and one each in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri and Oregon. The Mississippi death was announced by officials in that state Thursday.

Over the summer, health officials in a few states began noticing reports of people developing severe breathing illnesses, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. The only common factor in the illnesses was that the patients had all recently vaped.

As a national investigation started and broadened, reports have increased dramatically.

It's not clear how many of the 275 added cases occurred in the last week, and how many are being logged long after they happened. The CDC has not released details on when symptoms began in each case.

The agency's count includes only illnesses that have met certain criteria. Other illnesses are also being investigated.

Most patients have said they vaped products containing THC, the ingredient that produces a high in marijuana. The investigation has been increasingly focused on products containing THC, with some attention on ingredients added to marijuana oil.

But some patients have said they vaped only nicotine. Currently, health officials are advising people not to use any vaping product until the cause is better understood.

Several states -- including Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Michigan -- have all explored banning and temporarily banning vape products.

This summer, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban all e-cigarette sales.

Nationally, the FDA is working on a policy that would require all flavors other than tobacco to be taken off the market and then have to be approved before trying to return.


About the Authors: