76 Utahns report recent lung disease after vaping

A vaping device. Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

UTAH, Oct. 7, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah public health officials are investigating after more than 75 reported cases of lung disease were reported in individuals after recent vaping.

The Utah Department of Health said in a Facebook update: “As of Monday, Oct. 7, 76 cases of vaping-related lung disease have been reported in Utah, with an additional 14 potential cases being investigated. Given the evidence, vaping unregulated THC cartridges or ‘carts’ is likely the driver of this outbreak of severe lung injury.

“The UDOH recommends people do not vape unregulated THC cartridges until we learn more.”

The UDOH filed an emergency administrative rule on Oct. 2 to address the outbreak of vaping-related lung injury cases. The rule requires all tobacco retailers who sell e-cigarette products to post notices regarding the dangers of vaping unregulated THC products. It also restricts the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to age-restricted retail tobacco specialty businesses.

As of Monday, Sept. 30, 71 cases of vaping-related lung disease were reported in Utah, with an additional 10 potential cases being investigated. That number jumped from 47 cases of severe lung disease associated with vaping THC, nicotine, or both reported in Utah, as of Sept. 23. with an additional 22 potential cases being investigated.

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.

Ninety percent of cases reported vaping THC, and 60 percent reported vaping nicotine, with some vaping both.

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.

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.


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