A King County teenager is the first person in Washington state to be diagnosed with a severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes, Public Health — Seattle & King County reported Wednesday.
The announcement comes as President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration plans to ban non-tobacco-flavored vaping products as concerns intensify about their health risks and growing use among teenagers.
Nationally, there have been reports of at least six deaths and more than 400 cases of severe lung illnesses believed to be linked to the vaping products that feature sweet and fruity flavors as well as conventional tobacco flavors. The outbreak’s cause is unknown.
The King County teen was hospitalized for five days in August for fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the health agency, and is now recovering. He reported using e-cigarette products for three years.
The teenager reported vaping nicotine with propylene glycol and saffron, according to Public Health. The agency said its investigation is continuing, and officials are trying to learn the type of vaping device used, where the products were obtained or if other substances were used.
“E-cigarettes and vaping are not safe. Everyone should be aware of the risk for severe lung disease and avoid using e-cigarettes and vaping at this time until the cause of this outbreak is known,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “Youth, young adults and pregnant women should never use e-cigarettes or vape.”
“Although e-cigarettes are not approved as a cigarette smoking cessation method, we are aware that some people use them in this way,” Duchin added. “People who want to quit or reduce cigarette smoking should consult with their health care provider for effective treatment options.”
Public Health makes these recommendations:
- Youth, young adults, pregnant women, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not use e-cigarettes. The surgeon general’s Know the Risks has additional information for youth.
- Do not buy vaping products off the street and do not use these products while the investigation continues.
- Promptly seek medical attention if you use e-cigarette products and are coughing, have shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea or fatigue.
- Anyone trying to quit should talk with their doctor about evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor or a support quit line.
- Youth can contact the quit line, or access resources at https://teen.smokefree.gov/ or the Truth Initiative.
- If you are concerned about harmful effects from e-cigarette products, call WA Poison Control Center at: 1-800-222-1222.