September 5, 2019

CDC, FDA Investigate Outbreak of Lung Disease Associated with E-Cigarette Use

In late August, CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced an investigation of an outbreak of severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarette products. Together with state and local health departments and other clinical and public health partners, CDC and FDA are investigating serious incidents of respiratory disease that have affected both youth and adults across the country. As of Sept. 4, 2019, the agencies had not yet identified a cause of the outbreak. According to CDC, all patients had reported using e-cigarette products. Many had reported using e-cigarette products with liquids containing cannabinoid products such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

“Although the etiology of e-cigarette-associated pulmonary disease is undetermined, epidemiologic investigations in affected states are ongoing to better characterize the exposures [and] demographic, clinical, and laboratory features and behaviors of patients,” a CDC advisory explains.

As of Aug. 27, 2019, CDC had identified 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of e-cigarette products in 25 states. The agency currently reports one death associated with this outbreak: one patient with a history of recent e-cigarette use was hospitalized in Illinois with severe pulmonary disease and subsequently died.

The investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates as more information becomes available. Further details about the outbreak are available on the agency’s website.