Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
September 11, 2019

Mystery Pulmonary Disease Outbreak Linked to Vaping

BREAKING UPDATE: On the afternoon of September 11, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the FDA is finalizing plans to ban all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes from the market. This comes as a response to both the epidemic of youth smoking that has been aided by products like JUUL, as well as to the recent outbreak of severe lung disease linked to vaping. The ban would remove all flavored e-cigarette products from the market until the FDA has had a chance to review and clear them as safe for consumers.

On September 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they are investigating what they’re referring to as an outbreak of a “severe pulmonary disease” associated with vaping.

The investigation is currently in its beginning stages, but the one link between all the reported cases is that every patient smoked some form of e-cigarette product. At the time of the announcement, the CDC had received reports of over 450 cases of the same lung illness across 33 different states, as well as five confirmed deaths. Federal organizations unfortunately expect these numbers to continue climbing.

Although it’s too early to know with certainty what’s causing this sudden uptick in pulmonary disease, the organization published a health advisory on August 30 stating that there was no evidence of an infectious disease as the cause. Their update announcement in September expands on this point and states that “lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure.”

Whether it’s one specific chemical or a mixture of several remains a mystery, but the one thing we know for sure is that e-cigarettes are filled with potentially harmful additives, and the manufacturers are not being truthful with their own consumers. Kelley|Uustal attorney Eric Rosen has been fighting against Big Tobacco for years, and is familiar with this corporate disregard, “because of their rapid popularity, the manufacturers of vaping devices and e-cigarettes have rushed these products to market without conducting the proper studies to determine the true harms these products cause.”

The CDC will continue issuing updates as their investigation progresses, but in the meantime, they’ve advised that all adults stop vaping until further notice, and as always, teenagers and young adults shouldn’t vape at all.

Please see below for additional information and tips on how to protect yourself.


  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • fatigue, fever, or weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms, or suspect you may be suffering from this illness, seek medical treatment right away. Many patients have been admitted to the hospital and have been placed on ventilators to help them breathe.

Advice from the CDC

  • If you have health concerns regarding your use of e-cigarettes, you can contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Never purchase e-cigarette products off the street or from unauthorized vendors, as this puts you at a higher risk of exposure to dangerous additives.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should never use any e-cigarette products.
  • If you suffer any health or safety issues as a result of vaping, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages you to submit a report via their Safety Reporting Portal [].

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