Colorado health officials probe suspected vaping-related illness case

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A sweep of vaping-related illnesses have affected teens across the nation in recent weeks, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch a formal investigation. Meanwhile, health officials in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, among other states, are scrambling to determine what exactly is causing these “severe” pulmonary illnesses in young people who reported vaping prior to falling ill.

Now, another state may join a seemingly growing list of places where such illnesses have been reported: Colorado.

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“We do not have a confirmed case in Colorado, though we are investigating a suspect case,” Tista Ghosh, the chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), told Fox News.

The patient involved in the suspected case — which, if confirmed, would mark Colorado’s first — was not identified.

“We do not have a confirmed case in Colorado, though we are investigating a suspect case.” 

— Tista Ghosh

There have been 153 possible cases of “severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette product use,” the CDC said in a Wednesday update. The illnesses have been reported in 16 states, beginning June 28. No deaths have been reported at this time, and no specific product has been identified or “conclusively linked to illnesses,” said the federal health agency.

The negative health effects associated with cigarette and cigar use have long been documented, leading to a decline in both among teens in the U.S. in recent years.

But the same is not true for e-cigarette use. In 2018, nearly 1 of every 20 middle school students (4.9 percent) reported using electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days. That’s an increase from less than 1 percent in 2011.

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The health issues – both short and long term – of e-cigarette use are not well understood, and the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) does not require the manufacturers of e-cigarette devices to list all the ingredients in them.

Though e-cigarettes are often touted as a “safer” alternative to cigarettes, a recent study found that may not be true.

The study, lead by University of Pennsylvania researchers, claimed there are damaging effects on a user’s blood vessels after just one use.

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