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Vaping-Associated Pulmonary Illness Outbreak

As of November 5, 2019, 2,051 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products have been reported to CDC from 49 states, the District of Columbia (DC), and one U.S. territory. A total of 39 deaths have been confirmed in 24 states and in DC. No cases have been reported in Alaska. The case count includes only confirmed and probable cases reported by states to CDC after classification. The public health surveillance case definition was updated September 18, 2019.

State and federal agencies are actively working to identify the cause of the outbreak. No single product or substance has been linked to all of the cases in this outbreak. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising the following:

  • People should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
  • People should not buy any type of e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC, off the street.
  • People should not modify or add any substances to e-cigarette, or vaping, products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.
  • At present, CDC continues to recommend that people consider refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain nicotine.
  • If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
  • Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications.
  • If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor, other medical provider, or Alaska's Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
  • If you do use e-cigarette products and you experience symptoms like those reported in this outbreak, seek medical care promptly.

Regardless of the ongoing investigation:

  • E-cigarette, or vaping, products should never be used by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
  • THC use has been associated with a wide range of health effects, particularly with prolonged heavy use. The best way to avoid potentially harmful effects is to not use THC, including through e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Persons with marijuana use disorder should seek evidence-based treatment by a health care provider.
  • There is no safe tobacco product, and the use of any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, carries a risk.

If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, you can also call your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Health care providers should report cases of respiratory illness of unclear etiology among persons with a history of e-cigarette or vaping product use within the past 90 days to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at (907) 269-8000 or 800-478-0084 (after hours). A Reporting Poster is available.

Resources

For more information about this outbreak, please see the following resources:


For general information about e-cigarettes and vaping, please see the following resources:


For general information about marijuana in Alaska, please see the following resources:


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