Vaping-related illnesses have now claimed the lives of four people with hundreds falling sick.
As many as 450 people across 33 US states have come down with lung illnesses related to use of the electronic devices, health officials announced today.
Although only 215 cases have been confirmed by the country's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, speculation is rife that the numbers are much higher.
A wide-reaching investigation has now been launched.
It is thought that many of the illness are related not to nicotine based liquids smoked through e-cigarettes, but to THC vaping.
THC is the active substance in cannabis and is now readily available in e-liquid form in many states that have legalised the drug.
While thankfully not one of the fatalities, last week 18-year-old Adam Hergenreder of Gurnee, Illinois, was hospitalized after developing what seemed at first like the flu with nausea and vomiting.
After two years of vaping e-liquid and THC dab sticks he had lungs that looked like a 70-year-old's, Mail Online reported.
The broader respiratory illness spike was noted by Harvard University scientists in a report published today, which described the illnesses as a "worrisome cluster of pulmonary diseases related to vaping".
Last week, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind, a man from Illinois died of vaping related respiratory illness.
Just a week on three more people have lost their lives to vaping-related illnesses.
While their identities are not known, they are from Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon.
The four deaths and a spike in the number of people reporting respiratory illnesses following e-cigarette use could drastically change how vaping is viewed.
When e-cigarettes first came to the market, the small electronic devices were hailed as a possible final nail in the coffin of the long-reigning cigarette.
Between 2015 and 2018 the number of over-16s vaping in the UK shot up from 3.7% of the population in 2015 to 6.3% in 2018, according to Office for National Statistic figures.
The number of smokers dropped dramatically at the same time, from roughly a fifth of the population in 2011 to 14.7% in 2018.
While it may have received accolades for its contribution to smoking reduction, health problems associated with vaping are started to crop up in alarming numbers.
In the US many of the people who have sought medical help with breathing problems were otherwise healthy and in their teens or twenties.
Many had been struck down with intense bouts of vomiting, fever or fatigue for several days before seeking medical help.
While clearly a fate better than death, some ended up intensive care for several weeks.
It has been suggested that the cause of the health problems may be linked to the liquids used in vapes.
Breathing problems and lung inflammation may be caused when people inhale oil drops that are not properly heated up into vapour by the device.
“Inhaling oil into your lungs is extremely dangerous behavior that could result in death,” Thomas Eissenberg, who studies vaping at Virginia Commonwealth University, told The New York Times .
“That is probably the biggest message we can get out of this.”
The recent cluster of serious cases might suggests something else is at play.
Health investigators in the US are trying to work out whether a particular toxin has sneaked into the supply of vaping products.
Other theories are that people are reusing cartridges containing contaminants or are simply vaping too intensley.
Another high profile sufferer has been Tryston Zohfeld, who spent ten days in hospital in a coma after developing a lunch illness linked to vaping.
A theory that has gained traction online is that vaporised marijuana is to blame.
In Texas a young man nearly died after his lung collapsed.
Over in Florida a different young man shared shocking images of his lungs which he claimed had collapsed after a year of using a Juul – a kind of e-cigarette.
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