Health officials warn people to stop vaping as more vaping-related deaths are reported

The American Vaping Association is responding to the new warnings, claiming the CDC is "playing politics."
3:44 | 09/07/19

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Transcript for Health officials warn people to stop vaping as more vaping-related deaths are reported
deaths linked to vaping. Health officials say at least five people have died from vaping related illnesses. The CDC is issuing a warning. If you don't have to vape, don't do it. Reporter: It's an urgent warning from health officials. The CDC advising Americans to stop vaping or using e-cigarettes while they investigate. They're investigating a major outbreak of 450 people in 33 states with mysterious lung illnesses. The number of vaping-related deaths rising to at least five. Vaping is the only common factor to date. Reporter: In California, they say they're studying the country's first known death linked to vaping. We join with the centers for disease control to advise people to stop vaping now. Reporter: Also acknowledging 12 other known cases of pulmonary illnesses related to vaping in the county. The government says many of the patients, not all, reported recent use of thc, some reported using both thc and nicotine. They're investigating whether the illnesses are related to specific devices, other ingredients, possible contaminants or more than one of the above. Nobody is for sure what's in these products or how it might affect their health. Reporter: This morning J.D. Hernandez is hooked up to a breathing machine, fighting for his life. His doctors tell his family his trouble started when he began vaping six months. It's hurtful to see your child in so much pain and not be able to help them. That in just six months. The American vaping association is releasing a statement saying the CDC is playing politics with people's health by not issuing clear and specific warnings about avoiding vaping illegal marijuana oil products. Every day it's becoming more clear the illnesses and death are caused by thc containing street vapes, not store bought nicotine vaping products. That contradicts what health officials are saying. Let's bring in ABC's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jen Ashton. It's important to have you here. Let's talk about the five reported deaths. What do we know in terms of similarities and what don't we know? That's the key. There's a lot of questions here. Let's go through the numbers. Five attributable deaths, two appear to have involved thc in the past, one occurred in someone with underlying lung disease, another with someone with chronic medical conditions. When you talk about numbers, you have to consider numerator and denominator. Millions and millions of people are using e-cigarettes or vaping. Right now there are 450 possible illness-associated cases. Still very uncommon, but no doubt concerning. We're seeing the spike recently. Right. The challenge is the variety of products we're seeing. Some patients are using products off the street, some brand name, some with thc, some with nicotine. How do health officials move forward to investigate? Let me take you through the medical detective work, whit. First you have to distinguish between association and cause and effect. We're trying to put those dots together. Then you have to go through who, what, where, when, why and how. We have to see lung washings from those patients. Right now federal, state, local health officials' radar are up. The CDC and fda are investigating. Dr. Ashton, thank you. New developments in the case of two American teens arrested

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