With the ever-growing popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, also known as vaping), chances are you know someone who partakes in the social activity whether it be a young person or someone who is trying to quit traditional cigarettes.

This summer, however, nearly 400 (and counting) lung-related illnesses have been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and six people from six different states have died. The illnesses have come from a total of 36 states (along with the U.S. Virgin Islands), so it appears to be a widespread issue. All patients have a reported history of e-cigarette use and there is no evidence that an infection or virus is causing the illnesses, so chemical exposure is suspected by the CDC.

While a chemical is believed to be causing the issues, the CDC does not know if it’s coming from a specific product like a device, liquid, refill pod, or cartridge.

As the investigation continues, the CDC is making the following recommendations regarding e-cigarette use:

  • If you are concerned about specific health risks, the CDC recommends not using these products.
  • If you are using e-cigarettes that contain nicotine to help you quit smoking, do not return to smoking traditional cigarettes.
  • Do not buy any e-cigarette products off the street. They could contain modified or added products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
  • Adults who do not use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarettes.

According to the initial advisory released by the CDC on August 30, 2019, symptoms being presented include persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, along with some gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you have used an e-cigarette product and have had these symptoms (especially if they have persisted for a few weeks), you’re being asked to see a healthcare professional.