JACKSON • Two more cases of vaping-related lung illness have been identified by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
All three cases that have been identified in the state have occurred in adults between the ages of 28 and 33.
Currently, there are no confirmed vaping-related deaths in Mississippi. Last week Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley raised concerns that the death of a 27-year-old Smithville woman could be connected to vaping and sent her body for an autopsy. At the time, the state health department indicated it was premature to identify the case as vaping-related.
Across the country, 530 cases of vaping-related illness have been identified in 38 states with seven deaths in six states, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“This is a very serious concern, and one that is unfolding every day,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “While we know that many of the cases in the US report vaping cannabis products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), some have reported only vaping nicotine products. There is still a lot that we don’t know about what is making these people sick. No specific product such as the device, liquid, refill pods or cartridge has been clearly identified as the cause.”
The severe lung illness or injury related to vaping has surfaced since the end of June. In an analysis of the 373 cases where the CDC has data on the age and sex of patients, nearly 75 percent are male. Two-thirds are between 18 and 34 years old. Individuals under 18, who are not allowed to legally purchase e-cigarettes, make up 16 percent of cases. The remaining 17 percent are 35 years or older.
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.
Additionally, Byers said Mississippians are urged to not buy products off the street containing THC or other cannabinoids. Do not modify or add substances to e-cigarette products that are not intended by the manufacturer.