BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says 13 cases of pulmonary illness linked to vaping have been reported in Louisiana.
According to the LDH, the 13 cases of pulmonary illness were reported to health officials between August and September of 2019. Those cases were reported from throughout the state with the ages ranging from 17-33. There have been no deaths in Louisiana associated with this illness.
The update comes as the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use.
Health officials have only been counting certain lung illnesses in which the person had vaped within three months. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the body apparently reacting to a caustic substance that someone breathed in. Symptoms have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and vomiting.
The LDH says that, although the cause (or causes) of e-cigarette-associated pulmonary disease is undetermined, “epidemiologic investigations in affected states are ongoing to better characterize the exposures, demographic, clinical, and laboratory features and behaviors of patients.”
“All patients have reported using e-cigarette products. The exact number is currently unknown, but many patients have reported using e-cigarettes containing cannabinoid products such as THC or CBD.”
The CDC has said that their initial findings from the investigation into serious lung illnesses associated with e-cigarette products point to clinical similarities among those affected, but that no single product has been linked at this point to all cases of lung disease.
“While many of the patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products, some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products. A smaller group reported using nicotine only.”
As part of that ongoing investigation, the Louisiana Department of Health is asking physicians and other healthcare providers to report severe respiratory illnesses among patients that report a history of e-cigarette use to state health officials.
The LDH is also sharing the following recommendations for the public:
- If you are concerned about the health risks associated with e-cigarettes, consider discontinuing the products.
- E-cigarette products should not be bought off the street and should not be modified or have substances not intended for use by the manufacturer added.
- Youth, young adults and pregnant women, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products, should not use e-cigarettes.
- Monitor for symptoms of severe side effects if you do use e-cigarettes. If you do develop symptoms, seek medical attention. These symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Adult smokers who are looking to quit smoking can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.quitwithusla.org for information on FDA-approved counseling and medications.