Vaping

Around Washington state, cannabis shops are being required to hang signs warning customers of "severe lung injuries" and "deaths" associated with vaping.

Kevin Heiderich, a co-owner of one such shop, House of Cannabis in Tacoma, Wash., believes the government response to vaping illnesses should focus on the black market.

"Something has just changed and no one really knows what it is," he says.

Piper Johnson was all packed and ready to drive across country with her mom to start college when the 18-year-old noticed a pain in her chest. She took an Advil and hoped the pain would go away.

It didn't. During the drive from her hometown of New Lenox, Ill., near Chicago, to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo., she realized something was very wrong. "I kept feeling worse and worse," Johnson says. She developed a high fever, felt extremely lethargic, and noticed a rapid heart beat.

Public health officials say the number of people who have died or have gotten ill after using e-cigarettes or other vaping products is rising, and they're still trying to figure out why. It's led to plenty of warnings about e-cigarettes and put a spotlight on illegal vaping operations.

Bristol, Wis., is just north of the Wisconsin-Illinois state line. In early September, law enforcement officials conducted a raid at a condo unit located in a winding subdivision of new homes and houses still under construction.

Lawmakers and private companies are beginning to address the spread of a mysterious vaping-related illness that has killed 12 people and afflicted over 800 more.

From The New York Times:

Ruslan Alekso / Pexels

Vaping products, one of the fastest-growing segments of the legal marijuana industry, have taken a hit from consumers as public health experts scramble to determine what's causing a mysterious and sometimes fatal lung disease among people who use e-cigarettes.

The ailment has sickened at least 805 people and killed 13. Some vaped nicotine, but many reported using oil containing THC, marijuana's high-inducing ingredient, and said they bought products from pop-up shops and other illegal sellers.

Esther Honig / KUNC

Since the first reports of a mysterious lung illness surfaced in August, the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are 530 cases, including six in Colorado. Seven deaths have also been associated with this condition, known as a “vaping related pulmonary injury.”

It's still a mystery — what's causing the cluster of severe respiratory illnesses among people who've used e-cigarettes? The FDA says there have been at least 215 reported cases in 25 states.

Nearly three dozen of those cases are in New York state, and investigators there say they are now zeroing in on vitamin E as a possible culprit. Health officials say state lab tests detected high levels of vitamin E in cartridges of cannabis vaping products used by people who vaped and suffered serious lung damage.

Ruslan Alekso / Pexels

Colorado health officials say one person has been confirmed with a severe lung disease that appears to be linked to electronic cigarette products.

The Denver Post reported Thursday that the state Department of Public Health and Environment is investigating a possible second case of the illness that was reported to health officials Tuesday.

Scientists don't know much yet about the long-term effects of "vape juice," the liquid used in e-cigarettes and vaporizers. But researchers analyzing the liquid and the vapor produced when it's heated say some kinds of e-liquids are reacting to form irritating chemicals called acetals while they're sitting on shelves.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from Juul.

Popular e-cigarette company Juul's November 2018 commitment to stop marketing its products to youth on social media may have done little to curb the brand's reach among young people.

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