While vaping appears to be at the root of the growing number of people struck by pulmonary-related illnesses after vaping, the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) investigation into the cluster of illnesses is ongoing. To date, 193 cases of such illnesses have been reported across 22 states, with one death – Illinois.

American Lung Association (ALA) Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo, M.D. called the developments “alarming.”

“The inhalation of harmful chemicals found in e-cigarettes can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease. Developing lungs of teens and young adults may be particularly vulnerable to these harms. This is particularly alarming in light of the dramatic increase in youth use of e-cigarettes - what the Surgeon General refers to as a youth e-cigarette epidemic.

“Any individual who is experiencing respiratory illness or adverse symptoms that they believe could be related to the use of e-cigarettes should contact their healthcare provider. Anyone in respiratory distress should call 911.

“Any unexpected events from any tobacco product, including an e-cigarette, should be reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov. In addition, CDC is sharing with clinicians the Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Clinical Action Message. For information about a specific state, contact that state’s health department. 

“The American Lung Association has been raising the alarm about e-cigarettes and their use for more than a decade, and reiterates the recommendation that the public should not use any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. All tobacco products can harm health. The American Lung Association stands ready to help everyone quit tobacco products, and encourages parents to speak with their kids about the harms of e-cigarette use, before they start.”

The American Lung Association has more information on e-cigarettes at Lung.org/ecigs, and also offers programs for schools to educate kids about the health risks of vaping, as an alternative to suspension and how to quit tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Learn more at Lung.org and call 1-800-LUNGUSA for quit smoking assistance.