The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued a health advisory regarding the use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, also called e-hookahs, vape pens, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as of Sept. 27, 2019, there have been 805 lung injury cases reported from 46 states and one U.S. territory. Twelve deaths have been confirmed in 10 states.
Nine cases have been reported in Missouri, two have been confirmed and seven are under investigation.
According to the CDC:
- About 69 percent of patients are male.
- Nearly two thirds (62 percent) of patients are 18 to 34 years old; with 22 percent of patients between 18-21.
- 16 percent of patients are under 18 years old.
CONNECTION TO THC
Health officials do not yet know the cause of lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products. However, the latest findings from the investigation suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak, the CDC says.
CDC has received data on substances used in e-cigarettes or vaping products in the 30 days prior to symptom onset among 514 patients.
- 77 percent reported using THC-containing products.
- 36 percent reported exclusive use of THC-containing products.
- 57 percent reported using nicotine-containing products; 16 percent reported exclusive use of nicotine-containing products.
The DPH and the CDC are urging anyone who has recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and has symptoms like those reported in the outbreak, see a healthcare provider.
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Fatigue, fever, or weight loss.
- Elevated heart rate.
- If you are concerned about these specific health risks, DPH and the CDC recommend that you consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products until more is known about the outbreak.
- If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
- If you have a known respiratory illness, do not use e-cigarettes or cigarettes and consult your physician.
Regardless of the ongoing investigation:
- Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy these products (e.g., e-cigarette or vaping products with THC or CBD oils) off the street, and should not modify or add any substances to
these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
- Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products.
- Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
- Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
Additional information on associated risks with using e-cigarettes can be found at: health.mo.gov/emergencies/ert/alertsadvisories/pdf/update91219.pdf.