Since e-cigarettes’ mainstream inception, advocates have touted the devices as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. But now, as hospitalizations and deaths linked to the devices mount across the United States, health experts and consumers alike are concerned about their dangers.
Between June 28 and September 6, there have been 450 total possible cases of vape-related lung illness, according to the CDC. Five have resulted in death.
Both a lack of FDA regulation and the sheer number of different e-cigarettes and juices on the market have made it difficult for health experts to pinpoint the cause of each of the lung illnesses, or see if a common cause links all of the cases.
Additionally, some users may be vaping things other than nicotine, like THC, complicating the investigation and leaving many unanswered questions. The FDA and CDC announced they are investigating these products in light of the lung problems to which they’ve been linked.
“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement.
Here’s what we know so far about the people who have been hospitalized or have died from a vaping-related lung illness.