The Alexander County Health Department is participating in the multi-state investigation of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette use, also known as vaping, according to Bria Marlowe, CHES, Health Educator I, Alexander County Health Department.
As of September 11, 2019, 380 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported to CDC from 36 states and one U.S. territory, including six deaths. The exact number is currently unknown, but many patients have reported using e-cigarettes containing cannabinoid products such as THC or CBD. In North Carolina, 28 cases had been reported to the Division of Public Health as of September 11, 2019. You can track the North Carolina investigation by visiting the “News/Highlights” box on this webpage.
Patients in this investigation have reported symptoms such as:
- cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- fatigue, fever, or weight loss
Some patients have reported that their symptoms developed over a few days, while others have reported that their symptoms developed over several weeks. Most of these cases involve people who have been hospitalized and have required respiratory support. No deaths have been reported in North Carolina.
While this investigation is ongoing, consider not using e-cigarette products. If you do use e-cigarette products and you experience symptoms like those reported in this outbreak, seek medical care promptly.
Regardless of the ongoing investigation, the Alexander County Health Department and state and federal public health partners are reminding our residents of the following recommendations:
- Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products.
- Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
- If you do use e-cigarette products, you should not buy these products off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids).
- You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor or call the North Carolina Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or consult the website at: https://www.quitlinenc.com/.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration will continue to alert the public throughout this investigation.