(WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says 18 cases of pulmonary illness linked to vaping have been reported in Louisiana, as of Sept. 20. The cases range from ages 17 to 45 years old. A statewide alert was first issued Thursday, Sept. 5 when 9 cases were reported.
Due to the growing number of people across the country being hospitalized with severe pulmonary symptoms associated with the use of e-cigarettes, LDH is now asking doctors and other healthcare providers to report suspected cases to the state.
The state is also advising doctors ask their patients who use e-cigs, or have used them in the past 90 days, about any signs or symptoms of pulmonary illness they may be experiencing.
LDH said on Sept. 5, 215 possible cases of severe side effects linked to vaping had been reported in 25 states, with one death reported since the start of 2019.
In an updated statement from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Thursday, Sept. 12, 380 confirmed and probable cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping, were reported by 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Sept. 12 update noted six total deaths had been confirmed in six states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon.
The cases have been reported throughout the state, with patients ranging in age from 17 to 33. No deaths in Louisiana have been reported in connection to vaping at this time, LDH says.
- On Sept. 20, 2019, Louisiana reported 18 cases of pulmonary illness linked to vaping. Ages of those impacted ranged from 17 years of age to 45 years of age.
- On Sept. 16, 2019, Louisiana reported 13 cases of pulmonary illness linked to vaping. Ages of those impacted ranged from 17 years of age to 33 years of age.
- On Sept. 5, 2019, Louisiana reported 9 cases of pulmonary illness linked to vaping.
LDH says e-cigs can contain harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals such as lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals. LDH says while the use of e-cigs may help some smokers reduce their tobacco use, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved e-cigs as a quit aid and no conclusive data exists about whether e-cigs are actually an effective way to stop smoking.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PUBLIC FROM LDH
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
Additionally, concerns about the harmful effects from e-cigarettes can be directed to your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
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.