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Press Releases

09/12/2019

DPH Commissioner Recommends CT Residents Consider Not Using E-Cigarette and Vaping Products Pending Outcome of National Investigation into Severe Lung Disease

Connecticut Has Now Seen 11 Cases of Individuals Hospitalized with Symptoms Possibly Related to Vaping

Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell today is encouraging residents to consider not using e-cigarette or vaping products (vapes, electronic nicotine delivery systems, liquid cartridges and e-pipes) pending the outcome of a national investigation into severe lung injuries continues.  DPH has also learned of six more Connecticut residents who were hospitalized for severe lung disease possibly related to using e-cigarette or vaping, bringing the total to 11 cases under investigation in the state that have been reported to DPH.  The first case of lung disease possibly tied to vaping was reported to DPH on August 14, 2019.  Seven patients are residents of Fairfield County, three reside in New Haven County, and one resides in New London County. All patients are between the ages of 15 and 50 years old; all are recovering and most have now been discharged from hospitals. 

DPH continues to collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other state health departments to investigate the causes of illnesses. As of September 6, CDC was aware of more than 450 cases of lung illness associated with using e-cigarettes or vaping. The investigation has not yet identified any single substance or product that is linked to all cases. 

“Connecticut residents should consider not using e-cigarette products, at least for now, while we and our counterparts in other states and the federal government look into what is causing these severe respiratory symptoms,” said Connecticut DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell. “The exact cause of these illnesses has not yet been identified, but we have seen patients suffer from severe infections, and there have been fatalities in a number of states.  This is a serious public health concern.”

E-cigarette and vapor products, such as vapes, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and e-pipes, are battery-powered devices that are used to inhale aerosolized liquids. Aerosols inhaled from these devices can contain harmful chemicals that injure the lungs. 

For people who do use e-cigarette or vapor products, CDC recommends that people not buy products off the street, and people should not modify products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer. People who use e-cigarettes or vapor products and are concerned about respiratory symptoms should consider seeking medical advice. 

Investigation of these illnesses is ongoing. More information about the investigation can be found on CDC’s webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html