BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The number of severe lung illnesses associated with e-cigarettes or vaping has increased.

There are now 20 cases in the State of Maryland, and the problem seems to be plaguing people around the country.

The Maryland Department of Health is investigating cases in which people developed a serious lung illness when they were otherwise completely healthy. What they all seem to have in common is that the person was using some sort of vaping device.

“We have no idea what chemicals are in the e-cigarettes and therefore it’s completely unpredictable who’s going to get it,” Siani Hospital Doctor Scott Krugman said.

Krugman said that vaping devices were initially designed to help adults quit smoking, but they were never proven safe for kids.

“You can put marijuana, you can put CBD oil, you can put all kinds of things in that little device and who knows what kind of effects that will have,” he said.

The telltale symptoms of illnesses associated with e-cigarettes are shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing and wheezing.

While officials can’t pinpoint the exact cause of the illness, most patients reported using e-cigarette products containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Three-fourths of the cases are male, and two-thirds are between the ages of 18 and 24.

“I think it’s a matter of controlling what goes into them and making sure the brands are up to pare with standards.”

The FDA has also tapped its criminal investigators to look into the supply chain and find out what is making people sick.

Rachel Menitoff

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