Vaping-associated Pulmonary Disease


Vaping-associated Severe Pulmonary Disease Alert

Background: As of August 27, 2019, 25 states have reported 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of electronic cigarette products. Virginia has reported at least three of these cases with additional cases being investigated.

Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and/or chest pain. Some people have also experienced nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever or weight loss. Symptoms may occur over a few days to several weeks and the available evidence indicates that an infectious disease is not the cause of the illnesses.

Cause: Thus far, the investigation has not identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to all cases. While many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) other individuals reported they had only used e-cigarettes containing nicotine. Some doctors believe that cannabinoid oils vaporized in cartridges may be causing some of the lung inflammation. Street or homemade products lack any quality control and are likely to be contaminated or adultered with substances toxic to the lungs.

Health Recommendations: If you use e-cigarette products and experience symptoms noted above, seek medical care promptly. If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

The CDC and FDA requests the public submit detailed reports of any unexpected health or product issues related to tobacco or e-cigarette products to the FDA via their online Safety Reporting Portal.

Regardless of the ongoing investigation, the CDC recommends the following:

  1. Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products
  2. Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
  3. Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
  4. If you do use e-cigarette products, you should not buy these products off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids).
  5. You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  6. Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor or other medical provider.
The CDC website has more information about vaping in general and the outbreak of severe lung pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette products.

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2019

Last Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2019

Back to Top

Related Articles