UTAH, Sept. 24, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah public health officials are investigating after nearly 50 reported cases of lung disease in individuals after recent vaping.
The Utah Department of Health said in a Facebook update Tuesday: “As of Monday, Sept. 23, 47 cases of severe lung disease associated with vaping THC, nicotine, or both have been reported in Utah, with an additional 22 potential cases being investigated.”
Ninety percent of cases reported vaping THC, and 60 percent reported vaping nicotine.
“The Utah Department of Health recommends all Utah residents immediately stop vaping unregulated THC cartridges or ‘carts,'” the update said. “Unregulated vaping cartridges containing THC may also contain chemicals or additives that are unknown and unsafe.”
As of Sept. 16, 42 cases of severe lung disease were reported in Utah, with an additional 14 potential cases being investigated. The week before, Sept. 3, 28 cases were reported, with an additional 14 potential cases being investigated.
These cases are similar to cases reported nationally, in states including Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota, the update said. Officials in Utah are coordinating with the appropriate state and federal officials.
“Patients are experiencing symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue,” the update said. “Other symptoms included nausea and vomiting. Most patients have required hospitalization, with some requiring the assistance of ventilators to help them breathe.”
No specific substance or e-cigarette product has been identified that is linked to all cases.
Although patients have improved with treatment, it is unknown whether they will experience long-term health effects, officials said.
Public health agencies and health care providers throughout the state are working to determine the cause of these severe illnesses.
“Public health workers are interviewing patients to obtain a history of their vaping habits, including the types of products they’ve been using and how frequently they use them,” the statement said.
“They are also collecting product samples from patients and are coordinating with state and federal partners to test these products to determine if they contain harmful substances that may contribute to severe lung illness.”
On Aug. 19, the Department of Health announced it was investigating the recent hospitalizations of five people who experienced serious breathing problems and reported recent vaping or other inhalational drugs, and that number has since burgeoned.
Information about e-cigarettes and vapes can be found on the UDOH website here. For information about how you can help yourself or a loved one quit tobacco, including e-cigarettes, please visit waytoquit.org, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.