Oregon’s public health departments are urging doctors to be on the lookout for respiratory illness among people who vape or use electronic cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 153 cases of severe lung disease across 16 states — possibly caused by vaping. Most cases involve teenagers or young adults who were hospitalized with shortness of breath, cough and chest pain.
The Oregon Health Authority knows of no local cases, but is asking clinicians to be on the alert.
"These serious new illnesses are another reason to encourage people to avoid vaping or to quit if they’re ready," said Tom Jeanne, deputy health officer at OHA’s Public Health Division.
Gregory Conley, with the American Vaping Association, thinks the problem is with street products that have had cannabis compound THC illegally added. And he said it's irresponsible of Oregon not to mention that link.
“You have health departments, Indiana, Utah, California, just today New Mexico … largely linking this to THC cartridges,” Conley said.
Jeanne with the Oregon Public Health Division said authorities do not know yet what’s causing these problems, so the safest thing is to not vape at all.
The OHA recently delivered a report to the state Legislature outlining the health risks of vaping products and e-cigarettes. They include nicotine addiction, exposure to cancerous chemicals and increases in blood pressure.
Individuals who have recently vaped and are having difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.