AKRON, Ohio — Summit County Public Health warned people Tuesday to stop using any vape or e-cigarette devices amid a rise in cases of severe respiratory illness among teenagers and young adults who reported vaping e-cigarette or marijuana devices prior to hospitalization.
Between Thursday and Tuesday, 298 patients across 25 states, including Ohio, were hospitalized with severe pulmonary illness after vaping tobacco products or dabbing marijuana oils, extracts or concentrates, SCPH said in a news release.
The Ohio Department of Health is investigating six suspected cases in Ohio, and SCPH is investigating one in Summit County, according to Cory Kendrick, SCPH policy and legislative affairs manager.
â€śResidents are strongly encouraged to not utilize any vaping products, especially those that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD),â€ť SCPH said. â€śResidents with a history of vaping who are experiencing breathing problems should seek medical care immediately.â€ť
Reported symptoms include cough, fatigue, dizziness, headache, vomiting and diarrhea, chest pain and worsening difficulty breathing, Kendrick said. Symptoms worsen over a period of days or weeks before hospitalization.
Patients reported using a â€śmultitude of different vaping devices,â€ť many of which contained THC, Kendrick said.
â€śThe only commonality at this point is that every person has done some sort of vaping and thereâ€™s no biological – as in, bacterial or viral – cause for these illnesses,â€ť Kendrick said.
Vaping and e-cigarette products of any kind contain cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead, and chemical flavors linked to lung disease, according to SCPH.
â€śThereâ€™s a lot of harmful chemicals that are produced through the vaping process and we donâ€™t know much about it,” Kendrick said. “We have no long-term data to see what the effects are going to be for people.â€ť
The Ohio Department of Health has asked health-care providers to contact their local health department if they see patients with suspected, unexplained serious pulmonary illness who use vaping products. Health-care providers in Summit County can notify SCPH by calling Leanne Beavers, director of clinical health, at 330-730-0045.
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