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NIDA. (2020, September 28). Vaping-Related Illnesses and Deaths: What We Know So Far. Retrieved from

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The NIDA Blog Team
October 15 2019

Update (November 2019):

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to investigate other possible substances contributing to vaping-related illness and deaths, CDC has identified a thickening agent—Vitamin E acetate—as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injuries. They recommend that people should not use any product containing Vitamin E acetate, or any vaping products containing THC, particularly from informal sources like friends, family, or in-person and online dealers. They also warn against modifying (changing) any products purchased in stores, or using any vaping products bought on the street. The FDA is asking people, including health professionals, to report any adverse effects of vaping products. The CDC has posted an information page for consumers.


In the past few months, thousands of people have developed serious lung illnesses after vaping (using e-cigarettes). Some people have died as a result. Most of the vaping products contained THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes the high, but some contained only nicotine.  

As of December 4, 2019:

  • 2,291 cases of these illnesses have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cases were in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories.
  • The illnesses have led to 48 deaths in 25 states.

The CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other organizations are investigating the connections between vaping and these illnesses and deaths. In the meantime, the FDA has issued these warnings:

  1. Don’t use any vaping products of any kind bought online, on the street, or from family and friends.
  2. Don’t modify (change) any vaping products purchased in stores, and don’t use THC oil.

The CDC recommends that people consider not using any e-cigarette (vaping) products—particularly products that contain THC.

So far, we know that:

  • Vaping products containing THC appear to play a major role in the outbreak. In about 83% of cases, the person had used a product containing THC; 35% reported using products that contained only THC.
  • About 61% had used products containing nicotine; 13% reported using products that contained only nicotine.
  • Read more about what we know.

There’s a lot we don’t know yet:

Vaping is already risky for teens. Tell your friends about the risks, and about the illnesses and deaths associated with vaping. As more facts come in, we’ll report them here.