SPRINGFIELD (WSIL) – A person who was hospitalized with severe respiratory illness after vaping has died.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported the death Friday.
The department says the number of reported hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms after using e-cigarettes or vaping has doubled in the past week. In all, the agency is aware of 22 people ranging in age from 17 to 38 who have experienced respiratory illness after using e-cigarettes or vaping. IDPH is also working with local health departments to investigate another 12 cases.
“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We requested a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help us investigate these cases and they arrived in Illinois on Tuesday.”
Cases have been reported in Chicago and Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, Peoria, St. Clair, and Will counties.
IDPH is working with other state health departments, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, to investigate the types of e-cigarettes, vaping products and devices used.
The CDC says, in many cases, including Illinois, patients have acknowledged using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products. However, no specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses.
Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar symptoms.
People who experience any type of chest pain or difficulty breathing after using e-cigarettes or vaping in the weeks or months prior to these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.