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Vaping criminal probe announced by FDA as illnesses rise to 530

Cases have appeared in 38 states.

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Vaping illnesses have appeared in 38 states, the CDC says.

John Keeble/Getty Images

The number of cases of vaping-related lung illnesses has risen to 530 across 38 states, health officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. And the Food and Drug Administration has revealed a criminal investigation into the outbreak, according to a Thursday report in The Washington Post. There've been seven confirmed deaths from these illnesses so far, the Post said. 

The FDA reportedly said it isn't seeking prosecution for ill people who've vaped cannabis and come forward with information.

"The focus is on the supply chain," Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, told the Post. "We're very alarmed about products containing THC." 

Suspicion has recently turned to chemical dilutants, or "cutting agents," found in some black market THC vaping oils. The FDA has collected more than 150 samples from patients across the country and is now analyzing them for the presence of cutting agents and other substances.

According to the CDC, more than half the patients are under 25, with two-thirds between 18 and 34, and 16% under 18.