The Tennessee Department of Health is asking health care providers across the state to report any cases of suspected serious respiratory illness they treat among patients who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a cluster of severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vape, with more than 150 cases reported to date in 16 states.
''We are alerting Tennessee health care providers to be on the lookout for patients with severe respiratory symptoms who report vaping in the weeks before they got sick,'' said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD.
''We expect to find cases of this illness in Tennessee,'' Jones continued. ''We'll investigate any cases reported here to look for common factors and collect information on specific components or brands of vaping products that may be the source of the illness.''
Patients have had symptoms including cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, with symptoms growing worse over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital. Other symptoms may include fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Most of the cases are among adolescents and young adults.
TDH issued a public health advisory on the risks posed by vaping, juuling and use of other electronic nicotine delivery products in December 2018 and continues to urge caution to Tennesseans of all ages who use or are considering the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems. Find updated information on federal regulation of these products at www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-voices-perspectives-fda-leadership-and-experts/how-fda-regulating-e-cigarettes. For additional information on electronic cigarettes and their health effects, visit www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm.
TDH offers free assistance to Tennesseans who want to stop tobacco or nicotine use. Contact your local health department for information on tobacco cessation services and learn about the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at www.tnquitline.org/.
Tennessee youth are invited to join the TNSTRONG movement to promote tobacco-free lifestyles. Learn more online at www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/fhw/tn-strong.html or follow TNSTRONG on social media:
Instagram - @TNSTRONG
Facebook - @TNSTRONGmovement
Twitter - @TN_STRONG