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Factbox: U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 33

(Reuters) – U.S. health officials on Thursday reported 33 deaths and 1,479 confirmed and probable cases so far from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping.

FILE PHOTO: A man uses a vape device in this illustration picture, September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Illustration/File Photo

The agency urged people last month to not use e-cigarettes with marijuana ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), saying that the high-inducing component may have a role in causing the illness.

U.S. health officials have said there may be more than one cause for the outbreak of the illness and that they do not see a meaningful drop in the number of new cases.

Here’s what we know about the vaping-related deaths so far:

** States that have reported deaths: Three each in California, Indiana and Minnesota; Two each in Georgia, Kansas and Oregon; one each in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

** About 70% of the 1,358 patients, on whom data is available, are male, with 79% below 35 years of age, according to the CDC.

** Data shows all reported patients have a history of e-cigarette use or vaping.

** Patients have reported symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain, as well as nausea or diarrhea, according to the CDC.

** Results from an FDA testing of vaping product samples collected from Wisconsin showed that more than half contained THC, of which two-thirds also tested positive for Vitamin E acetate, a cutting agent believed to have been used to stretch the amount of THC oil.

** Washington Governor Jay Inslee last month urged state agencies to ban flavored and cannabis-derived vaping products and said more stringent rules could follow.

** A federal judge this month denied the industry’s bid to put a hold on Massachusetts’ four-month ban, saying a temporary restraining order on the ban would conflict with the public interest.

** New York state, Michigan and Rhode Island have all banned the sale of flavored vaping products.

** Kroger Co, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Walmart Inc have said they would stop selling e-cigarettes at their stores.

** Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said it will stop selling e-cigarette components in the United States.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla, Vishwadha Chander and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel

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