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State Health Officials Warn Against Vaping Following Reports Of Unknown Lung Disease

A picture of a man using an e-cigarette.

State health officials are investigating a series of hospitalizations possibly related to vaping. Three patients in North Carolina have been treated for a severe lung illness since July.

In each case, patients reported vaping or using e-cigarettes in the weeks before they were admitted, according to Zack Moore, an epidemiologist with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

"So far there has not been any specific product, or device, or type of vaping fluid that's been linked to these cases, and that's one big reason why we're asking for physicians to report these cases so we can gather better information,” said Moore.

Nearly 100 cases have been recorded across the country. The Centers for Disease Controlreport patients in at least fourteen states have been treated for shortness of breath, fever, coughing, nausea and vomiting. In some instances, patients required intensive care or ventilator support. No cause has yet been determined, but health officials say recent vaping or e-cigarette use is a common denominator. 

Moore and others are urging the public to cease use of all vaping products while health officials investigate.

“This really just highlights some of the potentially severe health risks that can come from vaping,” he said. “Our advice is to avoid vaping and e-cigarettes.” 

Elizabeth Friend grew up in North Carolina listening to public radio in the backseat of the family station wagon. She has been reporting and producing at WUNC since 2016, covering everything from Army history to armadillos. She's also the co-founder of the beloved summer event series Audio Under The Stars. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the outside world with her family, dabbling in esoteric crafts, and cheese.
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