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Five Deaths And 450 Illnesses, Are They Linked To Vaping?


The mysterious cases seem to have started in April. Patients showing up in emergency rooms with chest pain and trouble breathing. Some of them went into acute respiratory failure. What started with dozens of cases is now hundreds nationwide and doctors are beginning to ask each patient if they've been vaping.

Five people have died from respiratory illnesses that may be related to vaping and 450 people have fallen ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no specific e-cigarette device or substance has been linked to the illnesses. While some patients used marijuana-based products, others used marijuana and nicotine products, and a smaller group reported using nicotine products only.

The Food and Drug Administration has said it found an oil derived from vitamin E in samples of marijuana products collected from patients who had been sickened by vaping. But the FDA says no one substance, including the vitamin E derivative, has been identified in all samples. 

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss this epidemic of respiratory illnesses are University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Associate Professor and Thoracic Surgeon Julian Guitron, MD; West Virginia University Professor of Medicine, Radiology and Public Health, and former Chief of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine John Parker, MD; and Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association Founder and CEO Ray Story.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.