APHL and its member laboratories are working hard in collaboration with the
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and other public health partners to determine what is causing vaping-related lung injury across the United States. Partnership with federal agencies, state and local colleagues is essential to determining the cause of this respiratory outbreak.
Federal Response and Guidance
CDC recommends that until more is known, people who are concerned about this illness should refrain from using e-cigarette or vaping products. If you are using e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, CDC warns against returning to smoking cigarettes and recommends contacting a health care provider for other options. CDC also warns that women who are pregnant and adults who do not currently use e-cigarettes should not begin using them.
FDA is collecting and analyzing samples from the states, collating product-specific information and investigating sources. FDA is focused on determining the sources and distribution of products. Agents are responding throughout the country by collecting vaping devices including pods and cartridges, and interviewing individuals. FDA emphasizes they are gathering information and are not pursuing the prosecution of patients.
Public Health Laboratory Response
States, localities and territories are submitting products to the
FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Center. APHL is helping to facilitate triage and transfer of samples to FDA. Some APHL member labs are performing targeted and non-targeted analysis of products and, in some cases, clinical specimens.
A September 6, 2019 article published in the
New England Journal of Medicine provides a preliminary report on the
coordinated public health investigation in Illinois and Wisconsin.
APHL is working with member laboratories to support their individual responses to this outbreak. Members are encouraged to send any questions or concerns about the vaping illness outbreak to
Community of Practice
APHL has established a community of practice for state laboratories involved in the vaping illness outbreak response. This consists of two primary modes of communication:
A searchable electronic platform or discussion board, where members may post documents and events on the calendar. Such platforms have been used effectively in other topic areas and emergency incidents.
Monthly calls on the first Wednesday of every month at 1:30 pm ET with members of this community of practice. Calls are intended for analysts to share what they are doing to support this response, questions for their peers and best practices. Calls are restricted to APHL members and key public health partners.
APHL requested and received specimen collection and storage guidance from CDC. To request a copy of this document, please email