MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is joining other state health departments in requesting health care providers report any cases of suspected serious respiratory illness they treat among patients who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a cluster of severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vape, with more than 150 cases reported to date in 16 states.
Patients have experienced symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, with symptoms growing worse over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital. Other symptoms may include fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Most of the cases are among adolescents and young adults.
“Of the nearly 5 million youth who use some type of tobacco product, more than 3 million use e-cigarettes,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “Too many young people believe that vaping is a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products, but the fact is, some of these devices can deliver as much nicotine in a single cartridge as in a pack of cigarettes. We want people to understand the dangers of tobacco use and pursue a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle.”
For those who are ready to kick the habit, the Alabama Tobacco Quitline is available. Alabama residents may call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit quitnowalabama.com for help. The Quitline provides free, individualized coaching to help any type of smoker or tobacco user, including e-cigarettes and vape, to quit. In addition, the Quitline offers up to eight weeks of free nicotine patches to those medically eligible and enrolled in the program. Quitline coaching services are available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight.
For additional information on electronic cigarettes and their health effects, visit cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm. For more information on quitting tobacco, visit ADPH Tobacco Prevention and Control at alabamapublichealth.gov/tobacco.