Newswise — WHO: Keith S. Naunheim, MD, Vallee L. Melba Willman Professor and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Saint Louis University (SLU); past president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

WHY: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working together with state and local public health partners to investigate the incidents of severe respiratory illness related to the use of vaping products.

As of November 5, 2019, 2,051 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to the CDC from 49 states; 39 deaths have been confirmed in 24 states.

In many cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization. Some cases reported mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea, or other symptoms such as fevers or fatigue.

Dr. Naunheim is available to speak with the media about concerns associated with vaping.

CONTACT: Jennifer Bagley, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, 312-202-5865,