The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health issued a health alert in August 2019 regarding vaping related lung illness. The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department urges everyone to take this message seriously. Refrain from vaping, no matter the substance or source, until current investigations are complete. The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, along with other states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), local health departments, and healthcare providers are working to identify what is in the vape materials that is making people sick.

As of October 3, 2019, West Virginia has reported 5 lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products with no deaths to the CDC.  Across the U.S., there are more than 1,080 lung injury cases associated with using e-cigarette, or vaping products reported to the CDC from 48 states and 1 U.S. territory.

Eighteen deaths have been confirmed in 15 states in association with the national cases.  All patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.  Most patients report a history of using THC-containing products. The latest national and regional findings suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.  Approximately 70% of patients are male and approximately 80% of patients are under 35 years old.  E-Cigarettes and other similar Vaping devices are not currently approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid.

Vaping or using any electronic smoking device is addressed in the Ohio County no smoking rule, prohibiting the use of these products in all areas covered by the no smoking rule, similar to regular smoking devices.

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department recommends that residents quit vaping altogether, no matter the substance or source. The best thing to do to protect your health is to not vape.  If you have vaped in the past few months and are having problems with breathing or other symptoms, seek medical care immediately. Tell your health care provider about your history of vaping. If you decide to stop vaping, do not replace vaping with smoking combustible cigarettes. Instead, ask your doctor for FDA- approved quitting treatments.