First case of vaping-associated lung injury reported in Clark County

A woman in her 40s was hospitalized due to lung injury and is now recovering

VANCOUVER — The first case of severe lung disease associated with vaping has been reported in Clark County. A woman in her 40s was hospitalized due to lung injury and is now recovering.

A local medical provider reported the illness to Clark County Public Health. The woman reported vaping products containing nicotine and THC. The products were purchased at local licensed retailers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and state and local health departments are investigating a national outbreak of lung injuries associated with vaping products.

As of Dec. 10, the CDC reports 2,409 hospitalized cases of vaping-associated lung injury and 52 deaths. In Washington, 21 cases have been reported in nine counties, including Clark County.

Cases nationally and in Washington have reported using only THC products, only nicotine products or both nicotine and THC products, as well as other vapor products. The CDC has not identified a single ingredient, brand or source of illness in the national outbreak, and there may be more than one cause. The CDC has identified Vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with lung injury.

“We still don’t know what is causing this outbreak, and there may be more than one cause,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “People should not use any vapor products.”

Those who need help quitting tobacco or vaping products should contact their primary care provider or call the Washington Tobacco Quitline, 800.QUIT.NOW, for access to safe, evidence-based treatments. The Washington State Department of Health also offers free cellphone apps for those interested in quitting vaping or tobacco.

Those who continue to use vapor products should monitor themselves for symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath and chest pain, and promptly seek medical attention if they have concerns about their health.

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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