JACKSON • The Mississippi State Department of Health reported its first identified case of a vaping-related lung illness on Wednesday.

Since the end of June, the Centers for Disease Control have been tracking severe pulmonary disease linked to the use of e-cigarette products, commonly called vaping. The CDC has identified 380 cases of lung illness reported from 36 states and one U.S. territory. Six deaths have been reported from six states.

The Mississippi State Department of Health did not release any further information about the person diagnosed with with the severe lung disease, including age, county of residence or current health status to protect the patient’s privacy. The case was identified using specific criteria.

“The CDC has identified a case definition which all states are following including no presence of infection and vaping activity within the last three months,” said Liz Sharlot, state health department communications director.

According to the CDC, all the patients diagnosed with the severe pulmonary disease use e-cigarette or vaping products. Most of them have used e-cigarettes containing THC, the principal psychoactive element in cannabis. Many reported using both THC and nicotine. Some patients reported only using nicotine products.

The CDC does not yet know a specific cause of the illness, and no one specific e-cigarette or vaping product or substance has been linked to all cases.

The CDC is cautioning people who use e-cigarettes not to buy products off the street with THC or other cannabinoids and should not modify or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.

Symptoms of severe pulmonary disease include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and fatigue. Symptoms develop anywhere from over a few days of use to weeks of using e-cigarettes.

Until an exact cause of the illness has been determined, the CDC recommends the following actions:

If you are concerned about the health risks, consider refraining from using e-cigarettes or vaping products.

If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.

If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and you have symptoms like those reported above, see your healthcare provider.

Mississippi healthcare providers are asked to report any cases of severe pulmonary disease with no clear cause and a history of e-cigarette product use within the past 90 days to the state health department at (601) 576-7725.

The MSDH recommends that smokers who are attempting to quit cigarettes should use evidence-based treatments such as counseling or FDA-approved medications. The Mississippi Tobacco Quitline QuitlineMS.com is a proven resource that is free to use.

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