5 people hospitalized with lung disease after vaping, Utah health officials report

Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 17:43:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (KSL) — Five people have recently been hospitalized in Utah with serious breathing problems after vaping or using other inhalation drugs, state health officials say.

The patients experienced shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pains and coughing, according to a news release from the Utah Department of Health. The agency did not release any information, such as age or gender, about the patients.

Some needed assistance to breathe, according to the release. It’s unknown if any of the patients will suffer long-term health effects, although all have improved with treatment, the news release states.

Similar cases have been reported in other states, including Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. Anyone who experiences any type of chest pain or breathing difficulty after vaping should get medical help immediately, the news release states.

Wisconsin health officials have confirmed 15 cases of similar diseases, according to NPR. Six cases were reported in Illinois, and another four were found in Minnesota, NPR reported. Other cases may be present in Indiana and California, according to the report.

Earlier this month, pulmonologists from the University of Utah Hospital held a news conference with several people who experienced breathing issues after vaping to explain that the idea that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes might not be true.

“If you are vaping, and you develop a flu-like illness or respiratory symptoms, I think it’s worth considering that maybe the vaping is the cause of that,” U. pulmonologist Scott Aberegg said at the Aug. 6 news conference.

In March, the Utah State Legislature passed a bill raising the legal age to purchase tobacco, including cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, from 19 to 21.