Given recent reports of deaths tied to smoking electronic cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday it is activating its Emergency Operations Center.
According to CDC figures, there have been 380 confirmed cases of lung damage caused from vaping. Of those, there have been six confirmed deaths.
The CDC said that activating the Emergency Operations Center "allows the agency to provide increased operational support for the response to meet the outbreak’s evolving challenges. Agency subject matter experts will continue to lead the CDC response with enhanced support from additional CDC and EOC staff."
The CDC has stressed that it does not know exactly what is causing an outbreak of lung disease among those who vape. The CDC said that its investigation has not identified any specific e-cigarette or vaping product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) or substance that is linked to all cases.
“CDC has made it a priority to find out what is causing this outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-related injuries and deaths,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D. “Activation of CDC’s Emergency Operations Center allows us to enhance operations and provide additional support to CDC staff working to protect our Nation from this serious health threat.”
Last week, President Donald Trump suggested that the FDA could issue a ban on flavored electronic cigarettes.
The outbreak of vaping-related injuries could be due to the increased popularity of electronic cigarettes, particularly among teens. According to late 2018 government figures, 20 percent of high school students reported using vapes -- an increase from 11 percent in 2017.
Nearly 67 percent of high school students who vape reported using flavored electronic cigarettes.