Three people have died of a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping as cases skyrocket

Federal officials announced today that 450 people in 33 states have contracted a fatal lung disease that has been linked to the use of electronic cigarettes. That more than doubles the total number of cases reported across the country: last week, the total was 215 possible cases in 25 states.

In addition, officials in Indiana announced today that one person in their state has died of the disease, bringing the number of deaths nationwide from the disease to three.

"We are committed to discovering what is making people sick," said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement. "All available information is being carefully analyzed, and these initial findings are helping us reduce the focus of our research and approach the necessary responses to save lives."

The exact cause of the disease remains unknown.

"While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using electronic cigarette products," said Dana Meaney-Delman, director of the CDC's research on the disease, in an information session, according to . New York Times .

A series of articles published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) today delved into the problem.

An editorial in NEJM by David Christiani, professor of medicine at Harvard T.H. The Chan School of Public Health echoed the recent momentum of the CDC to deter people from using electronic cigarettes. Christiani said "efforts should be made to raise public awareness about the harmful effect of vaping, and doctors should deter their patients from vaping."

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