The Mississippi State Department of Health is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other states to alert the public about severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarette products.

While there have been no cases reported in Mississippi, nationwide there have been 215 possible cases and one death reported – all reporting vaping or use of e-cigarette products before their illnesses, officials said.

Many of the cases have reported vaping cannabis products, such as THC or CBD oils, although no single e-cigarette product or device has been consistently identified in all cases.

The symptoms of severe pulmonary disease seen in these cases include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fever and fatigue. Symptoms develop gradually over days to weeks.

“Vaping among youth and young adults is an increasingly common problem in the United States and in Mississippi,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “E-cigarettes contain many harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, and carry significant health risks.”

People should seek medical attention if they develop symptoms and be sure to notify their doctors about e-cigarette use, officials said.

Some e-cigarette products are used to deliver illicit substances which may be acquired from unknown or unauthorized sources.

“Do not buy products off the street containing THC or other cannabinoids,” said Dr. Byers. “Do not modify or add substances to e-cigarette products that are not intended by the manufacturer.”

State officials have asked all healthcare providers in Mississippi 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.

Smokers who are attempting to quit cigarettes should use evidence-based treatments such as counseling or FDA-approved medications, according to the state health department.

The Mississippi Tobacco Quitline is free to use.

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