Many states, including Virginia, have recently reported cases of severe lung disease among teenagers and young adults with a history of "vaping" (i.e., practice of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device).
Reported symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, with symptoms growing worse over days or weeks leading to difficulty breathing or admission to the hospital. Other symptoms may include fever, chest pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Patients report vaping in the weeks and months before becoming ill. A variety of vaping products have been used by people who developed this severe illness; no specific product has been linked with the disease. Many of those with illness vaped marijuana oil, extracts, or concentrates (also known as “dabbing”).
Severe respiratory illness is a newly recognized complication of vaping. Patients with a history of vaping who are experiencing breathing problems should seek medical care right away. Youth are discouraged from using vaping and e-cigarette products of any kind as the full spectrum of adverse health impacts from using these products is unknown.
Health care providers should be on the lookout for cases of severe respiratory illness among teenagers and young adults, and ask about recent vaping, dabbing and e-cigarette use. Cases should be reported to the local Health Department (In Fairfax County, 703-246-2433 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
To learn more about vaping-related illnesses and to get updated numbers of Virginia cases, go to http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/vdhlivewell/vaping/.
Quit Now Virginia provides free information and coaching by telephone or online to Virginians who want to quit smoking or using nicotine products. Call 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669).