The number of lung diseases after the consumption of e-cigarettes in the US continues to increase: 530 cases have now been identified, as the US health authority CDC on Thursday (local time) announced. Seven patients died. More than half of those affected are younger than 25, three-quarters of those affected are men. 16 percent of those affected are under 18 years old.
According to their representative Mitch Zeller, the FDA has so far collected more than 150 suspicious samples. It is still unclear, however, which substances are responsible for the lung diseases.
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However, many of those affected had inhaled products purchased on the black market that contained the cannabis ingredient THC. The investigation was "complex", with a quick result is unlikely, said Anne Schuchat from the health department CDC.
The authorities first became aware of an accumulation of cases of severe lung disease among users of e-cigarettes in July. The sufferers suffer from symptoms such as strong breathing problems and chest pain, many have to be artificially ventilated. Several teenagers are in an artificial coma.
The fear: Especially young people could become nicotine addicts
The US government has since announced a nationwide ban on flavored e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes with sweet or menthol-flavoring additives are particularly popular with young people in the US. The US states of Michigan and New York have already imposed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. In Germany or Europe so far no similar increase of illnesses is known.
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The big tobacco companies have been aggressively promoting e-cigarettes for some years looking for new customers. According to them, these products are significantly less dangerous than traditional cigarettes and can help smokers switch completely to "safer" alternatives.
According to the World Health Organization, the battery-powered devices that vaporize nicotine-laden fluids also pose health risks to consumers. It therefore demands their regulation. Above all, critics fear that they will make teens dependent on nicotine.