Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Amid Severe Lung Disease Cases, Minnesota Issues Warning About Vaping

Four cases of severe lung disease in the Twin Cities are being linked to vaping and e-cigarette use.

By Jeremy Olson

Four cases of severe lung disease in the Twin Cities are being linked to vaping and e-cigarette use, prompting state health officials to warn the public about the harms of these products and to advise doctors to be on the lookout.

The Minnesota Department of Health issued a warning Tuesday after receiving four case reports last week from Children’s Minnesota involving teens and young adults. The patients who suffered the illnesses all were hospitalized for more than one week, with some being admitted to intensive care.

While state health authorities have long issued warnings about vaping because of some of the contaminants in e-cigarette cartridges and products, this is the first time they have issued a public notice directly linking the use of these products to specific patient illnesses.

The illnesses appear to match lung disease cases reported in Wisconsin and Illinois, but state health authorities said they are still exploring the link to vaping in general, and to the cases in other states.

“There are still many unanswered questions, but the health harms emerging from the current epidemic of youth vaping in Minnesota continue to increase,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist and MDH medical director. “We are encouraging providers and parents to be on the lookout for vaping as a cause for unexplained breathing problems and lung injury and disease.”

The exact products used by the teens are unknown, but the state noted that some were marijuana-based while others contained nicotine. While vaping has been promoted by manufacturers as a way to wean off traditional cigarettes, health authorities have raised concerns about the contents. Testing has found harmful metals in some e-cigarette cartridges, including nickel, tin and lead.

Despite the warnings, vaping and e-cigarette usage has surged in Minnesota and in the U.S. The U.S. surgeon general has declared e-cigarette usage an epidemic. The 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey found that 20% of high school students regularly used e-cigarettes, and that 40% had at least tried them.

Health officials said the sickened teens and young adults suffered shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting and diarrhea. They encouraged doctors to monitor for similar cases, and to ask any patients with pulmonary symptoms about tobacco and marijuana use.

“We are deeply concerned by the severe cases of lung injury associated with vaping that we are currently seeing,” said Dr. Emily Chapman, Children’s chief medical officer. “These cases are extremely complex to diagnose, as symptoms can mimic a common infection yet can lead to severe complications and extended hospitalization. Medical attention is essential; respiratory conditions can continue to decline without proper treatment.”

(c)2019 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Sponsored
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
Sponsored
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Sponsored
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Sponsored
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
Sponsored
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Sponsored
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?