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CDC investigates lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use

By April Joyner

By April Joyner

NEW YORK, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a "cluster" of lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use after such cases were reported in 14 states.

The CDC is working with health departments in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Indiana and Minnesota on the investigation. Since June 28, states have reported 94 possible cases of severe lung illness tied to vaping, with 30 occurring in Wisconsin, according to a CDC statement on Saturday.

Patients with the illness experienced cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. Some had serious breathing difficulties that required ventilation.

A CDC spokesman was unable to provide additional information on the investigation. Representatives for the state health departments did not respond to inquiries.

Other states, including New York and New Jersey, have also issued health advisories regarding vaping-linked lung illnesses.

The CDC said there was no evidence that an infectious disease was behind the illnesses but that more information was needed to determine whether they were caused by e-cigarette use. It also did not link the illnesses to any specific product. In the United States, Juul, in which Altria Group Inc has a 35% stake, is the dominant e-cigarette maker.

E-cigarettes are generally thought to be safer than traditional cigarettes, which kill up to half of all lifetime users, according to the World Health Organization. But the long-term health effects of the nicotine devices remain largely unknown. In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began an investigation into seizures among e-cigarette users.

(Reporting by April Joyner Editing by Nick Zieminski)