Vaping-related illnesses and deaths are continuing to spread around the United States, and Lewis County Public Health and Social Services is urging parents to talk with their children about the dangers of vaping.
“This outbreak is yet another reason for parents and adults to talk to the youth in their lives about the dangers and uncertainties around e-cigarette use,” according to Lewis County Health Officer Rachel Wood, M.D, MPH. “What is especially troubling about these illnesses being reported is that we just don’t know what component or combination of components in the vapor is making people sick and even die,” she said.
More than 450 people in 33 states have reported severe lung illnesses after using e-cigarette devices. There have also been six deaths associated with this outbreak, according to Lewis County Public Health & Social Services.
Washington has had no reported cases of illnesses or death tied to vaping. However, in a recent survey, one out of every three high school seniors in Lewis County reported using e-cigarettes or other vapor-smoking products in the past month.
“If you know a young person who vapes, help them to develop a plan to quit,” Dr. Wood urged. Resources for quitting are available from the Washington State quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or by using the Text-To-Quit program designed specifically to help teens quit vaping, which starts with texting DITCHVAPE to 887-09.
E-cigarette use is not legal for anyone under age 18.
More information about the outbreak is available at www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html.