State health department logs 49 cases of vaping illness

Brandon Paykamian • Oct 14, 2019 at 7:22 PM

The Tennessee Department of Health has received 49 reports of “serious lung injury” among people who have used electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices as of Monday. Twenty of those cases have been recorded in East Tennessee. 

“This is an immediate public health concern with potentially severe consequences,” a Monday Health Department report read, adding that health officials are investigating the exact cause.

“At this time, no single product or substance has been linked to all the lung injury cases and the specific chemical or ingredient causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use or vaping remains unknown,” the release continued. “While this investigation is ongoing, TDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend Tennesseans consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.”

Since September, Ballad Health hospitals have reported 12 cases of “vaping-related illness.” 

While data has not yet been broken down by county, Health Department spokesperson Elizabeth Hart said updated data will be posted to the department’s website at www.tn.gov/health and social media every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. 

“If there are any new developments, they will be put on the site or on social media every Thursday,” she said. 

So far, nearly 1,300 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses have been reported in 49 states. Symptoms have included cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The department encouraged health care providers to report such cases of vaping-related illness and those with symptoms to seek treatment. 

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