(Deletes incorrect reference in paragraph six to a possible 8th death)
By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - U.S. health officials said on Thursday there are now 530 confirmed and probable cases and seven deaths from severe lung-related illnesses tied to vaping, and there are no signs that the outbreak is easing.
That’s up from 380 cases reported a week ago.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now investigating 150 products and substances and said it has activated its criminal investigations arm to explore the supply chain of vaping products and identify the cause of the outbreak. No individual vapers will be targeted, Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
Zeller said no single substance or compound, including THC or Vitamin E acetate, has been linked to all of the cases so far.
Seven people have died from vaping-related illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. The deaths were reported in California (2), Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon.
Illinois epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Layden said on a conference call with reporters that the state has now reported 69 cases, up from 52 a week ago, and continues to get reports of new cases daily. (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)