Published: Thu, September 12, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

PA Department of Health investigating dozens of potential vape-related illnesses

PA Department of Health investigating dozens of potential vape-related illnesses

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) officials are reporting the first confirmed case of a severe lung disease linked with the use of vaping devices identified by Public Health - Seattle & King County.

Patients have reported histories of e-cigarette use, which has led health officials to suspect the illnesses are being caused by a chemical exposure.

"The law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful", acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said in a statement. "At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing", the NY health department statement said.

It added that the rapid and worrisome increase has prompted a Congressional hearing on the matter, scheduled for later this month. Symptoms include a persistent cough, shortness of breath (even when resting sometimes) and being worn out easily.

'We agree with the FDA, ' said George Conley, president of the American Vaping Association.

State and local public health agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vape - with 450 possible cases reported to date in 33 states and 1 U.S. territory.

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In the USA, officials at the CDC have warned people not to use vaping products while the cause of the illnesses known as vape lung are being investigated. The disease was said to have progressed [PDF] rapidly in this individual, but no other details about the case - nor any of the others in the state - have been provided to protect the individual's identity. Anyone who uses e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.

"I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children", she wrote. Many patients report using vaping or e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that produces the high. "Don't put yourself in harm's way, and please follow the recommendations of public health officials".

She has reviewed data so far from 64 patients, including cases published on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine as well as other reports.

Some cases reported using only products that contained nicotine.

It asks providers to report any case of a person experiencing otherwise unexplained progressive symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, or weight loss, of any severity, and an abnormal chest imaging study associated with vaping. Because recreational marijuana is not legal in NY, officials suspect that many products are counterfeits of those available in other states.

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