Sixth U.S. Death from Vaping-Related Lung Illness Confirmed

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A severe lung illness linked with vaping has been confirmed as the cause of death of a person in Kansas, state officials said Tuesday, making it the sixth such death in the United States.

It was unclear what the Kansas patient, who was over 50 and had a history of health problems, had been vaping, NBC News reported.

The other five confirmed vaping-related deaths occurred in Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, Minnesota and California. The number of cases of vaping-related respiratory illnesses in the United States has doubled, with 471 confirmed or under investigation across the country.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people to avoid vaping while investigators try to determine what's causing the respiratory illnesses, NBC News reported.

"It's time to stop vaping," Dr. Lee Norman, secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said in a news release. "If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop."

Health officials have so far been unable to pinpoint any one brand, ingredient or substance that could explain the illnesses, NBC News reported.

The main suspect at this point is an oily chemical called vitamin E acetate, according to the CDC.

"The focus of our investigation is narrowing and that's great news, but we're still faced with complex questions in this outbreak that will take time to answer," Ileana Arias, acting deputy director of non-infectious diseases at the CDC, said during a recent media briefing.

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