WASHINGTON -- Health officials are recommending people who vape consider avoiding e-cigarettes while they investigate more cases of a breathing ailment linked to the devices.
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they are looking at 215 possible cases across 25 states. All the cases involve teens or adults who have used e-cigarettes or other vaping devices. Symptoms of the disease include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement the government is "using every tool we have to get to the bottom of this deeply concerning outbreak."
E-cigarettes generally heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable aerosol. The products have been used in the U.S. for more than a decade and are generally considered safer than traditional cigarettes because they don't create all the cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco.
The mysterious illness underscores the complicated nature of the vaping market, which includes both government-regulated nicotine products and THC-based vape pens, which are considered illegal under federal law.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for recreational use. THC-based products in these regulated markets are generally inspected for quality and safety, but there is a largely unregulated gray market.
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