Washington State Department of Health (DOH) officials announced today, September 16th, they have confirmed 2 cases in Spokane County of severe pulmonary disease linked to vaping. These cases are in addition to 1 confirmed case in King County and 5 deaths and hundreds more cases across the country as reported last week.
Washington State Health Officer Kathy Lofy is quoted in today’s press release as saying, “This is now a state-wide outbreak.”
Officials with the DOH say they are closely monitoring an ongoing investigation headed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration regarding an outbreak of severe lung illness associated with using vaping products.
DOH identifies vaping devices as “JUULs, e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, mods, tanks, or electronic nicotine delivery systems” noting they can contain nicotine, marijuana or other substances like flavoring agents and chemicals.
While the CDC investigation remains ongoing and has not identified a definitive cause, all reported cases have a history of using vaping devices. “We will continue to update the public on the status of the investigation and steps they can take to protect their health,” Lofy said.
If you continue to use vaping devices, you should monitor yourself for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health. You should never buy vaping products with THC or other cannabinoids off the street, and you should not modify or add any substances to these products not intended by the manufacturer.