DELAWARE– The Delaware Division of Public Health says it is participating in a multi-state investigation into an outbreak of severe pulmonary disease reported across the country.
According to DPH, nearly 33 states, including Delaware, have reported possible cases that could be linked to lung illnesses associated with the use of e-cigarette products (e.g., devices, liquids, refill pods, and cartridges).
DPH says there are no confirmed cases in the First State at this time, but it is currently investigating three possible cases among Delaware residents.
According to their release, as of Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, there were more than 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products being investigated nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
Five deaths related to this outbreak have been confirmed.
“The rising number of lung illnesses across the country that are associated with the use of e-cigarette products is incredibly alarming,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We strongly encourage individuals, especially youth, to avoid using e-cigarette products. I cannot stress this point strongly enough – these illnesses can be life-threatening.”
The release went on to say that, “More research needs to be done on the long-term impacts, but the CDC has stated that the aerosol used in e-cigarettes contains harmful substances such as nicotine, lead products and cancer-causing agents.”
But many in the vaping community say there is not enough information available yet, or research conducted to discourage people from vaping all together.
In DPH’s release, it admits these investigations are ongoing, and no investigation has identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that was linked in all cases.
But health officials did say, many patients reported using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
THC is what many in the vaping community believe is the true problem rather than vaping.
“Vaping is not a product it’s a delivery method, much like a syringe is a delivery method. You wouldn’t say that the heroin epidemic is caused by syringes, anymore than you can say that the vaping epidemic is caused by any particular vaping product,” David Eisenhour, CEO of Delmar Vaping Lounge said.
“You narrow it down, you point to the culprit and you say don’t use X brand, don’t use heroin, that would be responsible governance, that would be responsible public health policy.”
But health officials maintain there are health risks associated with e-cigarettes by themselves, and that they contain harmful agents.
Eisenhour said he believes the true problem is because people seeking e-cigarettes with THC often result to the black market and drug dealers often take advantage of it and put in harmful products.