Illinois Patient May Be The First Person To Die From Vaping-Related Illness In The U.S.

Nearly two dozen teens and young adults across the Midwest have been sickened after using electronic vaporizer devices.

a user exhaling vapor from an electronic vaporizer machine
Vaping360 / Flickr (CC BY 2.0 Cropped and Resized)

Nearly two dozen teens and young adults across the Midwest have been sickened after using electronic vaporizer devices.

An Illinois patient who died from a lung ailment after “vaping” — that is, using an electronic vaporizer device — may be the first person in the U.S. to die from using the vaporizer, The Associate Press reports.

On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) revealed that a patient had died from an undisclosed lung ailment after vaping. The agency would only say that the patient was between the ages of 17 and 38. There was no information about his or her age, sex, location or other health issues.

The patient appeared to have suffered some sort if inhalation-related injury, perhaps from having ingested a caustic chemical agent into their lungs. An infectious disease has been ruled out as the patient’s cause of death.

Meanwhile, dozens of people across the country have been sickened after vaping. Most of those sicknesses reportedly occurred in the Midwest.

In a statement, IDPH director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said that the feds have been asked to assist in getting to the cause of the situation.

“We requested a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help us investigate these cases and they arrived in Illinois on Tuesday.”

At the beginning of this month, patients in Illinois and Wisconsin began showing up in hospitals with lung issues, according to The Inquisitr,

Teenagers and young adults, all from the area around the eastern edge of the Wisconsin-Illinois border, presented to emergency rooms with breathing difficulties. At first, doctors believed these patients were afflicted with routine lung infections, but the patients did not respond to traditional treatment, and in some cases, they became considerably worse, even needed breathing assistance after being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

Without luck, authorities have been trying to piece together what links the cases. It is not clear, for example, if all of the people involved used devices or cartridges from the same manufacturer or retailer.

Meanwhile, according to a follow-up report in The Inquisitr, four teenagers in Minnesota all presented with similar, vaping-related illnesses. Elsewhere in the Midwest, six patients in Ohio and four in Iowa have also turned up in emergency rooms with lung problems after vaping. Outside of the Midwest, two such cases have appeared in Connecticut.

Vaporizing, or “vaping,” has become a popular way for nicotine (and, in some cases, cannabis) users to get their product. Vaporizer pens and similar machines heat an oil that produces a vapor that is then inhaled, according to The Center On Addiction. Oftentimes, that oil is enhanced with flavors such as strawberry or mint.