The agency also published a commentary piece in the New England Journal of Medicine Jan. 17, emphasizing that the EVALI outbreak is separate and distinct from the concerning uptick in vape use among adolescents, which has been building for much longer. EVALI primarily affects those ages 18 to 34 and is driven by THC use. The youth vaping epidemic, meanwhile, affects those 17 and younger, and is fueled by nicotine consumption, the team noted.
“The focus and scope of actions to address these epidemics must be grounded in science and must target the underlying drivers,” wrote the CDC’s Brian King, PhD, and colleagues. In EVALI’s case, those could include “continued investigation of causes, diagnosis and treatment by healthcare providers, public health messages about risks, and ensuring that chemicals of concern are not introduced into the supply chain.”
“It is also critical to monitor any consequences from long-term use of THC in these devices and long-term health outcomes in patients who survive EVALI,” King added.
In an intersection of these two epidemics, public health officials recently reported the death of an unnamed 15-year-old girl from Dallas County, who suffered from a “chronic underlying medical condition” caused by e-cigarettes. She replaces a 17-year-old Bronx teen as the youngest EVALI victim, according to reports.