More than 30 deaths from e-cigarettes


In the USA, almost 1500 people have now developed mysterious lung problems caused by e-cigarettes, and the number of deaths is also increasing. For Germany, authorities only warn against self-mixed liquids.

The number of deaths related to e-cigarettes has continued to rise in the USA. By Tuesday, 33 people in 24 US states had died after using electronic cigarettes, the US health authority CDC announced.

The dead were on average 44 years old, the youngest 17, the oldest 75, reported the US health authorities. In addition, there are almost 1500 confirmed illnesses almost throughout the country. A week earlier, the number of deaths had been 26 and the number of illnesses almost 1300.

According to a current assessment by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), users of e-cigarettes in Germany are not threatened with increased risks – provided they buy products that comply with European and German regulations. “Steamers” should nevertheless pay attention to symptoms such as breathing difficulties or chest pain, advises BfR President Andreas Hensel. “Especially after a product change.”

In addition, the authority warns against producing liquids yourself. Without sufficient knowledge, there is a risk that substances such as oils will be used if you mix them yourself, according to the BfR. This could lead to severe respiratory diseases when inhaled. According to the BfR, self-mixed e-liquids have frequently been the cause of health problems in reports to German poison information centres.

Within a short period of time, hundreds of serious lung diseases with respiratory distress, coughing and chest pain have been reported in the USA after the steaming of e-cigarettes. In some cases, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhoea or fever have also been reported. In some of those affected, the symptoms worsened within days and weeks to such an extent that they needed artificial respiration.

Before the authorities attribute the diseases to e-cigarettes, they rule out, among other things, that the affected persons suffer from an infection or that there is a cardiological or rheumatic cause.

It is still unclear what causes the diseases. Evidence suggests that products containing THC – the main active ingredient of cannabis – could play a role in the diseases and deaths. In the cases of disease already investigated, a large proportion of patients reported having used products containing THC.

The complaints seem to be almost exclusively limited to users in the USA – isolated cases have been reported in Canada. No similar increase in lung damage has been reported in Germany or Europe. Here, however, cerebrospinal fluid is also more strictly regulated.

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