U.S. officials are urging the suspension of all e-cigarettes and vaping products in the wake of eight deaths.
The Topline: The eighth U.S. death linked with vaping-related lung disease was announced on Thursday, as the total number of probable cases rose to more than 500.
The most recent victim was a St. Louis, Missouri man in his mid-forties who began vaping in May to treat chronic pain, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday. By August 22, he was hospitalized with respiratory problems and died less than a month later, on Wednesday.
The CDC has said many of the victims of the illness were using vape devices to consume THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, via black market products but it had not confirmed a single cause of the outbreak.
Of the 500 cases of vaping-related illnesses around 75% of the patients are male, and half are younger than 25, with 16% aged 18 or younger.
According to documents obtained by POLITICO, a bipartisan bill is being drafted to crackdown on the e-cigarette industry; the law would ban flavors other than tobacco, apply existing tobacco taxes to vaping products and establish a running campaign about the health risks.
Crucial quote: “Once the lungs are injured by vaping, we don’t know how quickly it worsens and if it depends on other risk factors," said Dr. Michael Plisco, a critical care pulmonologist at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.
Key background: Now 38 states and one U.S. territory have reported 530 instances of the new lung disease, up from 380 last week, according to the CDC. As doctors and epidemiologists race to find the cause of the outbreak federal and state governments have made moves to clamp down on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes which have been linked in the surge of use by teenagers. Earlier this week, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced an emergency ban on flavored vape juices and broadcasters CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia announce they would drop e-cigarette adverts.