32 Ohio vaping-related illnesses includes 2 local cases

A Montgomery County teenager and a 21-year-old Miami County man are among 32 confirmed cases of vaping related lung illnesses in Ohio.

Besides the 32 Ohio cases confirmed in Ohio as of Oct. 15, Ohio Department of Health said there are also 35 suspected but unconfirmed cases for the same time frame.

No deaths have been reported in Ohio, but 29 of the cases required hospitalization.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:    Ohio investigating 6 cases of vapers with pulmonary disease

Ohio Department of Health and the CDC are continuing to investigate the increasing number of people with severe pulmonary illness following vaping, which now adds up to about 1,300 cases nationwide and 26 confirmed deaths in 21 states.

Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC.

Most patients report a history of using THC-containing products. The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources, are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.

However, the possibility that nicotine-containing products play a role in this outbreak cannot be excluded, because some patients reported only vaping nicotine and many patients used both THC- and nicotine-containing products.

MORE: Ohio to spend $4.1M on initiatives aimed to fight youth vaping

Dennis Propes, Miami County health commissioner, said his department was notified late last week by the state of a 21-year-old man with a vaping related illness. He said the man — who public health officials are not identifying — was hospitalized for “a number of days.”

“It created a lot of issues with him and it could be a lot of long lasting health issues for this person,” Propes said.

The vaping-related illnesses come amid a rapid rise in young people vaping. About 10.4 percent of U.S. eighth graders, 21.7 percent of 10 graders, and 26.7 percent of 12th graders reported vaping in the past month in a 2018 National Institute on Drug Use survey.

Propes said public health officials are meeting with schools next week to gauge their needs and see what the department can do to help them.

RELATED: FDA, local schools take steps as teen e-cigarette use surges

“You’re introducing these harmful substances into your body and there’s not a lot of research and not a lot of knowledge as to what are the effects of doing this.” Propes said.

There was a also a 17-year-old with a vaping related illness in September, said Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

The DeWine administration has taken several steps to curb teen smoking and vaping, including a new law that goes into effect today that raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21.

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, said that research shows that if a person makes it to 21 without beginning to smoke, they most likely never will, with 95 percent of adult smokers starting before then turn 21.

“That age, 18 to 21, is really crucial,” Acton said. “In the case of vaping we know it’s become even more crucial because we know that these products are often being obtained through social networks and through your friends, so an 18-year-old might be on your soccer team and and be able to purchase but a 21 year old is usually of in a different crowd.”

Ohio Tobacco Quit Line

Call Ohio Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW anytime for help quitting smoking or the use of other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

A quit coach leads a counseling session during your first call. There are a total of five scheduled sessions.

You can chose to have nicotine patches, gum or lozenges sent directly to your home, free of charge for everyone in the state. Someone will also call in about seven months to check in and you can call anytime for extra help.

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