Possible vaping illness concerns N.C. officials

By on August 18, 2019


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) says it is investigating the cases of three patients who have been hospitalized since late July with symptoms of severe lung disease after vaping. Other states have reported similar cases including Wisconsin, where 11 teenagers and young adults were recently hospitalized with severe lung damage that has been linked to recent vaping.

In an August 16 release, the NCDHHS said, “The causes of these [three] illnesses are unknown, but all patients reported using e-cigarettes or vaping devices in the weeks before their illness began. NCDHHS is coordinating with North Carolina Poison Control, other partner agencies in North Carolina, other states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate.”

“We encourage all North Carolinians to avoid vaping products and e-cigarettes,” said State Health Director and DHHS Chief Medical Officer Elizabeth Tilson in the release. “Although the causes of the recently reported cases are still under investigation, this is a reminder of the potentially severe health consequences of vaping.”

Among public health professionals, many of the concerns about vaping have focused on use by young people. In an interview last year, Dare County Public Health Director Sheila Davies remembers being at a local restaurant several years ago with her family when someone at the next table blew a large plume of vapor smoke.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is going to be the next public health nightmare,’” she said.

Since 2014, local efforts have included the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services Public Health Division securing grant funding for a billboard along U.S. 64 in Manteo warning of the health risks that vaping posed on youth. Anti-vaping messages were also quickly incorporated into the health department’s school-based Peer Power program, and signs on school grounds were also replaced to include e-cigarettes among tobacco prohibitions. In 2015 Dare County also became one of the first counties in the state to ban the use of e-cigarettes in restaurants and bars.

And there is increasing evidence about the extent of vaping among teens. In its 2018 “Monitoring the Future” report based on a survey of nearly 45,000 adolescent students nationwide, the National Institute on Drug abuse found that 37.3% of twelfth graders reported doing “any vaping” in the past year. That is up significantly from 2017, when 27.8% of those students reported that behavior.

In addition, the percentage of high school seniors who reported vaping nicotine in the month before the survey nearly doubled — up from 11% in 2017 to 20.9% in 2018. And the number of seniors who said they vaped marijuana increased to 13.1% in 2018 compared with 9.5% in 2017.


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  • James

    I’ve been vaping unflavored juice for a couple of years and I’ve had absolutely no problems. There’s nothing in it but 80% food grade VG (vegetable glycerin), 20% food grade PG (propylene glycol) and nicotine. It tastes great, mildly sweet (from the VG). I use high quality coils with organic cotton as the wick. In total I’ve been vaping about four years now and everything is just fine. Of course, I’m 50 and not some (illegally vaping) teenager.

    Sunday, Aug 18 @ 1:16 pm
  • Mary

    Yeah, it’s ridiculous. Teenagers shouldn’t be doing it anyway.

    Monday, Aug 19 @ 9:53 am
  • Mary Spencer

    This is like the Hysteria from pot. If big money isn’t behind it, suddenly the government doesn’t want you to do it. How about health concerns from alcohol? Or the pills that have caused a Nationwide epidemic? Children (teenagers) shouldn’t be smoking much less vaping anything. For adults that can follow directions and have self control, it’s much better than cigarettes.

    Monday, Aug 19 @ 9:52 am
  • Manteobxr

    FDA has just reported the presence of heavy metals in some samples of vaping products they have tested, including the Cbd vape products! How do you know where all the elements of the products are produced? If China is involved, which is likely, I would not trust it. Look what big tobacco got away with for over a century.

    Monday, Aug 19 @ 12:01 pm
  • Really?

    “Look what big tobacco got away with” Please… Nobody is forced to use tobacco or vape. Tobacco growing in a farmers field will never harm a soul unless some idiot decides to burn it and inhale the smoke and vape liquid is harmless until some idiot decides to heat it into a vapor and inhale it. Put the blame where it is, the user.

    Monday, Aug 19 @ 8:48 pm
  • manteobxr

    wasn’t the tobacco Einstein, it was all the crap that the companies added to ensure that the smokers would remain hooked. You should research your subject matter prior to showing your ignorance in your haste to be self-righteous.

    Wednesday, Aug 21 @ 4:49 am
  • surf123

    Drinking is just as bad as smoking and possibly worse since innocent people are killed or maimed by drunk drivers families are destroyed and lives wasted,. Everyone has vices, but conveniently no one sees what their own vices are.

    Tuesday, Aug 20 @ 5:54 pm
  • Elmer p Bailey

    Your doing the public a huge disservice, by reporting and equating illegal drug use with proven safer alternative to help smokers quit. Its widely reported,,these are a result of illegal street carts. Your also inherently driving the public back to cancer causing combustibles with your misinformation. As a state health group,,i would think you could do better.

    Tuesday, Aug 20 @ 4:12 pm
  • Frank Randazzo

    You do realize that you failed to mention anywhere in this garbage piece what these “victims” were vaping. Legal vaping products do not produce these results. Vaping has been around for over a decade and has been used by millions of adults as a successful form and f smoking cessation. It’s quite strange they all of a sudden people are becoming ill from “vaping” but thus has never happened prior. Please show responsible journalism and include the facts before publishing crap like this. By the way, 1,300 more Americans died today from smoking related causes.

    Tuesday, Aug 20 @ 4:15 pm
  • Robert

    Cause unknown we get grant money so vaping is the cause…sounds about right.

    Wednesday, Aug 21 @ 5:51 am