Fourteen more cases of vaping-related illness have been reported in New York since public health officials announced earlier this month that 11 people using vaping devices needed to be hospitalized.
The new count of 25 cases in New York comes after the first suspicion of spray-related death in Illinois and nearly 200 sputum-related lung diseases are being investigated across the country.
Some public health experts say that these diseases are linked to the spraying of marijuana oil rather than nicotine, prompting federal health officials not to clearly warn populations about health risks related to tetrahydrocannabinol, called THC, the chemical found in marijuana that causes psychological effects. .
Although many of the 25 cases in New York involve THC, state health officials said none of them had reported using products sold by companies marijuana for medical purposes authorized in New York.
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"At the moment, the safety of approved medical marijuana products in New York State is no problem," said Jill Montag, spokesman for the Department of Health.
In the meantime, some public health experts have raised alarms about the links between THC and many cases at the national level.
Boston University Public Health Professor Michael Siegel said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was "unnecessarily vague" in describing injuries as simply vaping-related, while many people might have been injured by THC oil, reported the US network TODAY.
"From what we know now, I think there is enough to tell people: avoid vapping THC oils – especially those bought on the street," Siegel said. . "There are some things that the agency could recommend right now that could potentially save lives and prevent that from happening by being much more specific."
The CDC, the US Food and Drug Administration, and state health agencies say they have completed the tedious work of looking for common factors that may have triggered lung diseases related to vapor inhalation, affecting mainly young adults.
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In New York, state health officials are obtaining and testing samples of vaping products involved in cases to help determine their potential cause.
Health department officials declined to answer questions about the specific locations and vaping products involved in the New York cases, citing the ongoing investigation and patient interviews. They noted that 10 cases were in western New York.
Some of the unanswered questions related to whether vaping devices had been used as intended.
At this point, officials in the state health department had no information suggesting that the brand or model of the vape protection device had any connection whatsoever with the disease , according to Montag.
Most nicotine-containing liquids in electronic cigarettes are alcohol-based and can not cause "lipoid pneumonia", a type cited in many lung cases nationally, according to Siegel. The oil used when marijuana is sprayed can be it, he said.
New York University Public Health Professor Ray Niaura said the recent wave of lung disease meant "it's unlikely that electronic cigarettes will be on the market for a long time" unless "something has been changed or a new product has been introduced to the markets". "
"If it's nicotine, it's like a bad lot or an unknown new player," said Niaura, former scientific director of the Anti-Tobacco Initiative for the Truth.
"More likely, it is what others say and people marvel at many other things that nicotine, like synthetic cannabis or contaminated THC that is emerging and leads to these. harmful consequences, "he said.
Some patients have compared the onset of the disease to a heart attack and others to the flu. Symptoms included headaches, fatigue, nausea, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever and diarrhea, health officials said.
Some patients in New York have had progressive breathing problems requiring supportive care, including intubation and systemic corticosteroids, health officials said. Other cases resolved themselves with close clinical supervision and minimal supportive care for several days.
Dr. Brian King of the CDC's Bureau of Smoking and Health also told reporters that harmful ingredients in traditional nicotine fumes have been identified, including ultrafine particles, heavy metals such as lead, chemicals carcinogens and flavors used in electronic cigarettes. it's a butter flavor.
These ingredients had been linked to a serious respiratory illness, he said. Although they have not been linked to current cases, "we know that the electronic cigarette spray is not harmless," King said.
And despite THC links, public health investigators across the country said they needed to collect more information on each case to determine the trigger for lung disease, the USA TODAY network reported.