Tips & Info

What you need to know: Outbreak of lung disease associated with e-cigarette use or vaping

Updated Monday, Sept. 23, 2019:

The Snohomish Health District has identified the first case of vaping-related lung illness in a Snohomish County resident. Staff are working to gather any additional information and samples of substances that may have contributed to the patient’s illness. The investigation into the specific vaping devices and products used is ongoing. Read the full news release at www.snohd.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=163.

This is the first recognized case in Snohomish County detected under heightened surveillance stemming from the nationwide outbreak of vaping-associated lung illnesses. However, it is likely that other cases occurred prior to this one but were not recognized as such. It is possible that additional recent and future cases will be detected with the increased monitoring and reporting.

The relatedness of this case to the larger national outbreak is uncertain, as is the cause (or causes) of that outbreak. This case brings the current total to six vaping-related lung illnesses in Washington State. As of September 19, 530 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported to CDC from 38 states and one U.S. territory. Seven deaths have been confirmed.

 

 

The following update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance around symptoms and recommendations as of Sept. 6, 2019:

Symptoms of Severe Lung Disease Reported by Some Patients in This Outbreak

  • Patients in this investigation have reported symptoms such as:
    • cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain
  • Some patients have reported that their symptoms developed over a few days, while others have reported that their symptoms developed over several weeks. A lung infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms.

Interim Recommendations

Until we know more, if you are concerned about these specific health risks, CDC recommends that you consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.

If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak see a healthcare provider.

If you use e-cigarette or vaping products:

  • Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy these products (e.g., e-cigarette or vaping products with THC, other cannabinoids) off the street, and should not modify or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • See a healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.

If you are an adult who uses e-cigarettes because you have quit cigarette smoking:

  • Do not return to smoking cigarettes.
  • If you continue to use e-cigarettes, carefully monitor yourself for symptoms and see a healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.

If you are an adult who is trying to quit smoking:

  • Contact your healthcare provider if you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
  • Use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications.

If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, contact your health care provider, or you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

CDC and FDA encourage the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected health or product issues related to tobacco or e-cigarette products to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal.

Questions about E-cigarette Use, or Vaping

What is an e-cigarette?

  • Electronic cigarettes – or e-cigarettes – work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs.
  • The liquid can contain: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives.
  • E-cigarettes are also called vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, tank systems, mods, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

What is vaping?

  • Using an e-cigarette is commonly called vaping.
  • Vaping can refer to using e-cigarettes to inhale many substances, including nicotine, and THC or CBD oils.

What is causing this outbreak of lung disease?

  • All reported cases have a history of e-cigarette product use, or vaping.
  • The investigation has not identified any specific product or substance that is linked to all cases.
  • Most, but not all, patients have reported using e-cigarettes containing THC. Many report using THC and nicotine. Some report using nicotine containing products only.

How can I protect myself?

  • Until we know more, CDC recommends that you consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.
  • Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy these products (e.g., e-cigarette or vaping products with THC, other cannabinoids) off the street, and should not modify or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • If you are an adult who uses e-cigarettes because you have quit cigarette smoking do not return to smoking cigarettes.

What should I do if I have used e-cigarettes and have symptoms?

  • See a healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.
  • You can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • You can also submit a detailed report of any unexpected health or product issues related to tobacco or e-cigarette products to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal.

What if I’m an adult who quit cigarette smoking and now uses e-cigarettes?

  • If you are an adult who uses e-cigarettes because you have quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
  • If you continue to use e-cigarettes, carefully monitor yourself for symptoms and see a healthcare provider right away if you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.

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