Government & Politics

Missouri reports two confirmed, seven possible cases of vaping-related lung illness

E-cigarettes might be trendy, but they’re not as harmless as they seem

Vapes and e-cigarettes have grown in popularity in recent years. Often advertised as a less dangerous alternative to cigarettes, medical professionals still have much to learn about their health effects. (Macon Telegraph)
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Vapes and e-cigarettes have grown in popularity in recent years. Often advertised as a less dangerous alternative to cigarettes, medical professionals still have much to learn about their health effects. (Macon Telegraph)

Missouri has identified two confirmed cases of the mysterious lung illness associated with vaping and seven others under investigation since putting out an advisory to healthcare providers in late August, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

There have been 450 possible cases of the respiratory disease related to vaping reported in 33 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Details about the Missourians’ ages or locations were not immediately made available.

“Health officials around the nation are working hard to identify the cause of this outbreak, to prevent additional illnesses and protect health,” DHSS Director Randall Williams said in a statement Thursday. “Missourians are encouraged to follow the CDC guidance to refrain from using e-cigarette products if you are concerned about these specific health risks, especially while the investigation is ongoing.”

This week, Kansas health officials confirmed the first death in the state related to vaping, adding to the five fatalities nationwide. There have been no confirmed fatalities in Missouri, as of yet.

In recent years, young adult use of e-cigarettes, especially the popular brand Juul, has exploded. Three cases of a vaping-related breathing illness among young adults were reported in Kansas in late August.

In response, the Trump administration announced Wednesday that it would move to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

DHSS warned against buying e-cigarette products off the street, including marijuana-infused cartridges.

In the cases reported nationwide, no single device, ingredient or additive has been identified, though many cases involve marijuana vaping.

Symptoms associated with e-cigarette-related illness include: cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain; nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; fatigue, fever, or weight loss; or elevated heart rate.

Those concerned after using an e-cigarette product can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Crystal Thomas covers Missouri politics for The Kansas City Star. An Illinois native and a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, she has experience covering state and local government.
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