Health Alert: Vaping Linked to Severe Lung Disease
Health Alert: Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) is urging residents to stop using vape or e-cigarette products immediately.
As of September 5, there are 34 confirmed cases of Wisconsin residents hospitalized for severe lung disease and damage from vaping. Nationally, over 200 possible cases are being investigated.
In Wisconsin, the majority of the cases have reported using e-cigarettes or other vaping devices to inhale THC products, such as waxes or oil concentrates. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana and is often times mixed with other chemicals and additives that are unknown, unregulated, and unsafe. Vaping nicotine products can be equally harmful because of their unknown and unregulated nature.
“I urge everyone that currently uses vaping devices to inhale THC or nicotine to stop immediately, and encourage others to not begin using these products,” says Janel Heinrich, PHMDC’s Health Officer. “Parents and educators can also help by talking with youth, since no amount of marijuana or nicotine use during adolescence is ever safe.”
Anyone who has used vaping products and is experiencing unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, nausea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss should talk to a healthcare provider.
- Tobacco is Changing – Learn more about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping
- Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line or 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help to quit smoking and FDA-approved medication
Healthcare Provider Recommendations
- Talk to patients about the risks of vaping.
- Ask all patients who report e-cigarette product use within the last 90 days about signs and symptoms of pulmonary illness.
- Consider all possible causes of illness in patients reporting respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms and of e-cigarette product use. Evaluate and treat for other possible causes of illness (e.g., infectious, rheumatologic, neoplastic) as clinically indicated. Consider consultation with specialists (pulmonary, infectious disease, critical care, medical toxicology) as appropriate.
- Report cases of severe pulmonary disease of unclear etiology and a history of e-cigarette product use within the past 90 days to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at (608) 266-1120 or to PHMDC at (608) 266-4821. Reporting of cases may help CDC and state health departments determine the cause or causes of these pulmonary illnesses.