The number of vaping-related lung disease cases has increased again, reaching 805 across 46 U.S. states and one territory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Thursday.
The report comes amid efforts by health authorities to dissuade people from using various vaping devices including e-cigarettes, while they are reviewing the illnesses and deaths tied to the products.
Just last week, the number of such cases was 530, compared to the 805 this week, which represents a 52 percent increase. The first vaping-related death in North Carolina was likewise reported on Thursday, bringing the total death toll so far to 13.
Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and several other states also reported their first vaping-associated death cases this week, which were included in the CDC figures. Of all the cases, almost two-thirds are male and 38 percent were people at the age of 21 or younger, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“All reported cases have a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping,” the CDC said in a release.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has opened a criminal investigation into the matter, while the CDC is conducting a probe into lung injuries linked to vaping.
Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, noted at a hearing Tuesday that the cases reported thus far have surpassed previous estimates. The products linked to these cases are believed to be black-market ones, containing THC, a psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, but Schuchat stressed that this may not be necessarily true.
She pointed out that so far, no ingredient or additive has been linked to all cases.
Over the past weeks, lawmakers have criticized the release of vaping products without proper safety testing.
Patients most often experience breathing difficulty, coughing, chest pain and fatigue, and in rare cases vomiting and diarrhea.