Beware of vaping-related lung injuries

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is an epidemic of e-cigarette use among youth. Almost 40% of Minnesota high school students have tried e-cigarettes, and almost 20% of high school students use e-cigarettes on a regular basis. Of particular concern, 34% of regular e-cigarette users report having vaped cannabis/THC oil at least once. Nicotine, the highly addictive chemical in e-cigarettes, in addition to the flavors that attract youth, continue to sustain use among youth and young adults, the primary audience Big Tobacco targets.

As of Sept. 10, 2019, approximately 450 potential cases of severe lung injury have been reported from 33 states and one jurisdiction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has identified 22 confirmed or probable cases of acute lung injuries among people with a recent history of vaping, with 13 more people under evaluation. Symptoms involve: shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting and diarrhea. Additional symptoms reported by some patients include headache, dizziness and chest pain. Among the Minnesota cases interviewed, all report vaping illegal THC products. Many have vaped other products including nicotine-containing products. Majority of individuals reported purchasing illegal vaping material from the street or through a friend. Majority of the Minnesota cases involved illegal use of THC products.

The Minnesota Department of Health has been working with federal and local public health, health care providers and other agencies to investigate reports of severe lung injuries. This collaborative effort enables MDH to continue to share as new details and preventive measures individuals can use.

Seek medical attention if you or someone you know has vaped illegal cannabis/THC products and is having difficulty breathing. It is very important to notify your primary care physician about your recent history with vaping. With the growing number of cases across the country, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals should consider not using electronic cigarettes/vaping products.


Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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