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Posted on: October 16, 2019

Second Case of Vaping-Associated Lung Injury Reported

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SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – A second Snohomish County resident has been hospitalized due to vaping-associated lung injury. 

A woman in her forties was hospitalized last week. She reported vaping both flavored nicotine and THC products. The products were purchased legally.

A medical provider reported the case to the Snohomish Health District. The District, in partnership with the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has asked providers to report lung injuries that are not fully explained by another infection or illness, and where the patient reports use of an e-cigarette or vapor device.

The CDC is reporting nearly 1,300 cases of vaping-associated lung injury across the country, and 26 deaths. Locally, there have been a total of 12 cases reported throughout Washington. The specific ingredient(s) or contaminant(s) causing the national outbreak has not yet been determined. Whether Snohomish County’s and Washington State’s cases are linked to or caused by the same culprit as the national outbreak is also unknown at this time.

No additional Snohomish County cases are being investigated at this time.

Dr. Chris Spitters, interim health officer for the Snohomish Health District, urges people who vape to strongly consider quitting. “And those who don’t vape shouldn’t start,” he said. 

“Our position remains the same,” said Dr. Spitters. “There are serious health concerns with using e-cigarettes or vapor devices, regardless of what product or substance you use. Although we do not know what is causing these lung injuries, we do know that the ingredients in vaping products are not regulated by the FDA, their long-term health effects are uncertain, and this national outbreak certainly points toward potentially serious and even fatal consequences for many users.”

People who use vapor or THC products should seek medical attention if they experience coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, nausea or fatigue. Healthcare providers should also contact the Snohomish Health District at 425.339.5278 to report cases of unexplained lung disease in people who have used e-cigarettes or vapes in the past 90 days. This includes patients who report vaporizing marijuana concentrates or extracts, often called dabbing.

If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, you can contact your doctor or call the Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for access to safe and proven methods. Trained professionals will help you set up a quit plan, provide quit help information, and provide nicotine replacement if eligible.

Along with investigating the local cases of vaping-associated lung injury, the District has been working on youth vaping prevention and parent education. The 2018 Healthy Youth Survey showed that nearly half of high school seniors in Snohomish County have tried an e-cigarette or vape pen at some point, and nearly a third of them currently use one. Only about a third of seniors said they believe regular vaping is harmful.

More information is available online at www.snohd.org/vaping. People can follow the Snohomish Health District on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for ongoing outreach about youth vaping prevention and other public health topics. Healthy communities specialists from the District also will be providing information at three November presentations about teen vaping hosted by Everett Public Schools.

More information on vaping-associated lung injury:

The Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. To read more about the District and for important health information, visit www.snohd.org.

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