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Union County Public Health Joins Multistate Investigation

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Union County Public Health Joins Multistate Investigation

Posted on 09/18/19

Union County Public Health Joins Multistate Investigation


The Union County Division of Public Health is participating in the multistate investigation of severe lung disease and deaths associated with electronic cigarette use, also known as vaping. As of September 11, 2019, 380 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 36 states and one U.S. territory. The number of reported illnesses includes six deaths.

The exact number of cases associated to e-cigarette use is currently unknown, but many patients have reported using e-cigarettes containing cannabinoid products such as THC or CBD. In North Carolina, 28 cases had been reported to the Division of Public Health as of September 11, 2019. You can track the North Carolina investigation by visiting this webpage.

“While we do not know of any lung illnesses associated with e-cigarette use in Union County, the increasing use of these products is very concerning,” said Dennis Joyner, Public Health Director. “If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and have symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever or weight loss, please see your doctor.”

Patients in this investigation have reported symptoms such as:

  • cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • fatigue, fever, or weight loss

Some patients have reported their symptoms developed over a few days; while others have reported their symptoms developed over several weeks. Most of these cases involve people who have been hospitalized and have required respiratory support. No deaths have been reported in North Carolina.

While this investigation is ongoing, the public is urged not to use e-cigarette products. If you do use e-cigarette products and you experience symptoms like those reported in this outbreak, promptly seek medical care.

Regardless of the ongoing investigation, the Union County Division of Public Health and state and federal public health partners are reminding our residents of the following recommendations:

  • Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products.
  • Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
  • If you do use e-cigarette products, you should not buy these products off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids).
  • You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.

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 or call the North Carolina Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or consult the website https://www.quitlinenc.com/.

The Union County Division of Public Health and state and federal public health partners are reminding people of the risks associated with the use of e-cigarette products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration will continue to alert the public throughout this ongoing investigation.