Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

Lindsay Fox. CCO Creative Commons via Pixabay.

Three cases of a severe lung illness associated with vaping have been reported in Virginia, the state Health Department reported Monday in a warning about the risks of e-cigarettes.

As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified 193 potential cases of the vaping-related lung illness in 22 states.

“Symptoms of this illness have included gradual onset of cough, shortness of breath or fatigue that gets worse over a period of days or weeks, until the patient has to be admitted to the hospital for treatment,” the state Health Department said in a news release. “Some patients have also reported vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.”

Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among American middle and high school students, the health department said, with the number using vaping products increasing by 1.5 million nationwide between 2017 and 2018.

This year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation, signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, that raised the age to buy tobacco or nicotine vapor products from 18 to 21, largely driven by concern about the number of teenagers vaping.