Another person has died of vaping-related causes although the outbreak of respiratory issues related to e-cigarettes has been declining since September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
Fifty-five people have died of a mysterious vaping-related respiratory ailment as of Dec. 27, contrasted with more than 2,500 cases of the illness, Reuters reported.
The news comes shortly after Congress voted to raise the national minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, ushering in the sweeping new policy as part of a must-pass government funding package signed by President Trump.
Many patients reported a gradual start to symptoms that ranged from breathing difficulty to chest pain, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some victims experienced vomiting and diarrhea or other symptoms such as fever or fatigue, the agency said.
Access to vaping products varies on a state-by-state basis, and some buyers can get around age restrictions by buying online. There are at least 35,000 vape shops in the U.S. alone and even more on the internet, according to an estimate from the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association.
E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. more than a decade ago and have grown in popularity despite little research on their long-term effects. The FDA has been widely criticized for repeatedly pushing back its own deadline to begin reviewing thousands of vaping products on the market, at one point until 2022. The deadline is now next May.
The Associated Press, Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and FOX Business' Jeanette Settembre contributed to this report.