SPRINGFIELD (WREX) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and public health officials warn Illinoisans Friday to not use e-cigarettes or vaping devices as the state investigates respiratory illnesses associated with vaping.
State officials say people who continue to use e-cigarette products despite the warning should not buy vaping products off the street, modify e-cigarette products or add substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.
“There is much more research needed to understand the short and long-term health effects of using e-cigarette products. During this investigation into recent respiratory illnesses associated with vaping, I am urging Illinoisans to avoid using these products,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The safety and health of our residents – especially our young people – is critical to our future as a state, and I’m committed to using the best science to move forward in a bipartisan way to inform and protect our residents.”
The state’s investigation hasn’t identified any particular e-cig or vpaing product causing more than 500 cases of respiratory illnesses across the country, which has led to 8 deaths.
As of Friday, 69 cases of vaping-related illness have been reported in Illinois, including one death. An additional 13 individuals are being further investigated.
According to the CDC, nicotine found in e-cigarettes causes harm in the brain development of youth who vape, and those young people may be more likely to progress to traditional cigarettes.
In an effort to prevent more people from becoming seriously ill after using e-cigarettes or vaping, IDPH is conducting a survey to try to understand if vaping habits are different among people who have become sick after vaping, compared to those who have not become sick. It is an anonymous survey that takes only a few minutes and asks basic questions about the individual’s vaping habits. The survey can be found here: https://is.gd/understanding_vaping_habits
“Public health officials across the country are trying to find out what is causing hundreds of people to suffer severe respiratory symptoms after vaping,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We would like to ask the people of Illinois to help us learn more about vaping habits to try to identify why some people are getting sick and others are not. This information could provide insight that can help prevent people throughout the U.S. from becoming ill.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all patients have reported using e-cigarette or vaping products. Many patients, including some in Illinois, have reported using vaping devices containing cannabinoid products such as THC or CBD. Cases in Illinois have reported using more than 50 different products and devices.
Gov. Pritzker says he supports legislation to ban flavored vaping products this veto session. Vaping products are illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase in the state of Illinois.
If you have vaped or used e-cigarettes and are experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, cough, or other respiratory symptoms, seek immediate medical attention and let doctors know you have vaped.