TENNESSEE, USA — There are now 49 cases of vaping-related illnesses reported in Tennessee, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
The number of cases is up from 26, which was reported about a month ago.
State health officials said this is an immediate public health concern with potentially severe consequences.
"At this time, no single product or substance has been linked to all the lung injury cases and the specific chemical or ingredient causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use or vaping remains unknown," a release from the health department said.
Doctors have said the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. While no single vaping product or ingredient has been linked to the illnesses, doctors said most patients reported vaping THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana.
TDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend Tennesseans consider refraining from using e-cigarettes or vaping products while the investigation into the illnesses continues.
"Regardless of the ongoing investigation, youth should not use e-cigarette or vaping products, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start," a release said. "TDH also advises that women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette or vaping products. Adults who used e-cigarettes to quit cigarette smoking are advised not to return to smoking cigarettes."
The investigation comes as part of a nationwide outbreak of severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vape, with nearly 1,300 cases reported to date in 49 states.