MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is recommending that everyone stop using vape products and e-cigarettes until national and state investigations into deaths and illnesses related to vaping are complete.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating more than 800 cases of lung disease or injury around the country, and at least 13 deaths. Not included in those numbers are the cases ADPH is investigating.
As of Sept. 25, ADPH is looking into 16 cases in this state of probable lung disease associated with e-cigarettes or vaping. Of those 16 cases, two of them have been ruled out; another two have been identified as probable cases of lung disease associated with vaping. A
DPH has requested that health care providers report any cases of suspected serious respiratory illness they treat among patients who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “The use of any tobacco product is unsafe. While this current outbreak is being investigated, the safest option is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vape product. Furthermore, there is no situation in which these devices should be used by pregnant women or youths.”
What’s especially concerning here and across the country is that, other than vaping, there seems to be no other common thread among the cases. Two-thirds of cases are among people 18 to 34 years old. Patients have experienced symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, with symptoms growing worse over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital. Other symptoms may include fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Alabama law now prohibits the sale or transfer of vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors.
Free help is available for Alabama residents who are ready to kick the tobacco habit. The Alabama Tobacco Quitline number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or residents may visit quitnowalabama.com for help.
The Quitline provides individualized coaching to help any type of smoker or tobacco user, including e-cigarettes and vape, to quit. In addition, the Quitline offers up to eight weeks of free nicotine patches to those medically eligible and enrolled in the program. Quitline coaching services are available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight.