Fourth Illinois resident dies after lung injury associated with vaping

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A fourth Illinois resident has died after being hospitalized with a lung injury associated with vaping.

The Illinois Department of Public Health released a statement Thursday that said the resident “had recently been hospitalized with lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products.”

No other information about the person was provided.

“At this time, a total of 179 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 13 to 75 years old … have experienced lung injuries after using e-cigarettes or vaping.  IDPH continues to work with local health departments to investigate another 41 possible cases in Illinois,”  the statement said.

The number of vaping illnesses in the U.S. is still rising, but at a slower pace.

Also on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said another 121 cases have been reported, bringing the total of confirmed and probable cases to 2,172. Forty-two people have died.

The outbreak appears to have started in March and peaked in late summer but there is often a lag in reporting. Of the latest cases, the CDC says less than half are people hospitalized with lung damage in the last three weeks.

Most of the people who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana. Officials believe a thickening agent used in black market THC vaping products appears to be a culprit.

The latest death comes on the heals of a new study from Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles that shows vaping can hurt the heart as much as tobacco cigarettes can - maybe even more.

People who vape may need to worry about more than just their lungs.

The small study examined the types of people: cigarette smokers, vapers and non-smokers.  It asked some mild exercise, how did their blood flow change.

The results found the heart in someone who vapes was getting less oxygen than in someone who smokes tobacco.

WGN’s Julie Unruh has details.

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