COLUMBUS — Public health officials are investigating six cases of Ohioans who reportedly suffered severe pulmonary illness after using e-cigarettes, or vaping.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a national alert to healthcare providers warning of pulmonary illnesses apparently linked to vaping in at least 16 states. The cases primarily involve adolescents and young adults.
The Ohio Department of Health has since asked healthcare providers throughout the state to report all suspected cases of serious pulmonary illness where the cause is unclear and the individual has a history of vaping.
Symptoms have included coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue, sometimes resulting in hospitalization, according to the CDC. Some patients have reported fever, chest pain, weight loss, nausea and diarrhea.
E-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to traditional tobacco products in recent years.
But health officials warn that vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking.
According to ODH, e-cigarette aerosols contain nicotine, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead, volatile organic compounds, ultrafine particles that can reach deep into lungs, and flavorings like diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease.
“We are seeing a tremendous increase in vaping among our youth, which is a public health crisis,” ODH Director Amy Acton said in a statement Friday. “There is a perception that vaping is safe, and these reports of serious pulmonary illness linked to e-cigarettes or vaping product use show that this is simply not true.”
Acton urged anyone experiencing serious breathing problems from vaping to seek medical attention immediately.