Most of the patients who have died from vaping-related lung injuries were men and reported using products containing THC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday in its first mortality analysis of the mysterious illness linked to e-cigarettes.
The CDC has confirmed 34 deaths in 24 states as of last week. Of the 29 patients analyzed in the report, 59% were men and the median age was 45 years.
Among the 19 patients the CDC had substance data on, 84% reported using THC-based products, 63% reported exclusive use of THC products, 37% reported using nicotine-based products and 16% reported exclusive use of nicotine products.
As of last week, 49 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have reported 1,604 cases of vaping-related lung injuries. Data from the report shows that most of the patients are young, white males.
The CDC found, among patients with available data, that 79% were under the age of 35, 78% were non-Hispanic white and 70% were males. Also, about half of the cases and two deaths occurred in patients younger than 25 years old.
“It is evident from today’s report that these lung injuries are disproportionately affecting young people,” said Robert R. Redfield, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement. “As CDC receives additional data, a more defined picture of those impacted is taking shape. These new insights can help bring us a step closer to identifying the cause or causes of this outbreak.”
The new report also further confirms that THC-containing products are playing a major role in the outbreak. Of 867 patients, 86% reported any use of THC products, 64% reported any use of nicotine products, 52% reported use of both THC and nicotine products, 34% reported exclusive use of THC products and 11% reported exclusive use of nicotine products.
The median age of patients who have survived from vaping-related lung injuries is 23 years.
The CDC is warning against the use of all e-cigarette and vaping products, particularly those containing THC. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana.