The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is cautioning against the purchase and use of bootleg (or otherwise altered) vaping devices and related components.

In a statement to media Friday from CDC Director Robert R. Redfield and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, the ongoing investigation into recent reports of severe respiratory disease possibly linked to such products was detailed.

"As of August 27, 2019, 215 possible cases have been reported from 25 states, and additional reports of pulmonary illness are under investigation," the two said. "States are completing their own investigations and verifications of cases based on CDC's recently released standardized case definition. While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the respiratory illnesses."

Further addressing the similarities in some cases, the officials noted it’s not yet clear if the cases do indeed have a common cause "or if they are different diseases with similar presentations." Additionally, the agencies have highlighted the importance of obtaining more information in order to fully determine whether there's a direct link between any specific substances and the reported illnesses.

Thus far, an estimated 80 samples have been obtained by FDA officials for examination, with additional sampling requests from multiple states still stacking up. 

In a new official health advisory that was also shared Friday, the CDC shared a list of recommendations for clinicians, public health officials, and the general public. 

Among the guidelines for us common folk are that we refrain buying vaping or e-cigarette products of any kind "off the street" and/or modifying said products by way of alternate substances or any other customization not specifically outlined by manufacturers. Those who use these products, which are not intended for young adults or pregnant women, should monitor themselves and immediately notify medical officials should health concerns arise.

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