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Maryland Health Officials Warn Of Vaping-Related Illnesses

August 28th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

In the last two months, five Marylanders have developed severe lung illness after using electronic cigarettes, state health officials said.

The Maryland Department of Health worked with the Maryland Poison Center at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy to identify the affected individuals. None of the cases have been fatal and are among nearly 200 such cases of vaping-related illness in 22 states.

Patients reported symptoms including shortness of breath, pain associated with breathing, coughing, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors found no clear infectious cause. All of the patients required hospitalization.

“The Maryland Department of Health is taking this issue seriously and is working with local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to identify anyone who may be experiencing similar symptoms,” MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Frances B. Phillips said in a statement.

Electronic cigarettes have been described as a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, but health officials have been worried about kids using them. Most of the concern has focused on nicotine, which health officials say is harmful to developing brains and might make kids more likely to take up cigarettes.

But some vaping products have been found to contain other potentially harmful substances, including flavoring chemicals and oils used for vaping marijuana, experts say. State health officials said the cause of the recent illnesses hasn’t been linked to any particular device, substance of brand. Those who fell ill said they used a variety of vaping products, including those containing marijuana, THC and nicotine.

Many products may contain substances that can be toxic when inhaled and might not be listed on the packaging, officials warn.

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