HOUSTON – Several more vaping-related lung illnesses have been confirmed in Harris County.
According to Harris County Public Health, after a thorough investigation, three more teens were confirmed to have or may have suffered from vaping-related illness.
The number of injuries is suddenly spiking, with no clear reason why. While vaping hasn't been established as the cause of the recent lung illnesses, it is a common link between all these cases, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been more than 800 possible lung-related illnesses associated with using e-cigarettes, including the six teens diagnosed in Houston.
“The spike in youth vaping, and vaping-related deaths and lung illness are alarming,” said Umair A. Shah, executive director for Harris County Public Health. “That’s why HCPH recommends all community members not use e-cigarette products until the investigation is concluded.”
What are the symptoms of vaping-related lung illness?
People who have trouble breathing, a cough, chest pain, nausea, fatigue or other symptoms in the days or months after vaping should seek immediate medical attention. Individuals vaping as a means to stop smoking should use FDA-approved products.
A free program was created to prevent vaping among school-grade students after it was discovered one in five high-schoolers vaped and one in 20 middle schoolers vaped. The program called Youth Vaping Prevention Program, created by the HCPH, has a 45-minute education session that details the dangers of vaping, shows how to resist peer pressure to vape and counsels those who are addicted to vaping.
“This program is so important for our community, right now,” Shah said. “We must educate our youth on the dangers of vaping and youth leaders on how to recognize when kids are doing it. Prevention is key.”
HCPH said it's currently investigating other individuals who may have become ill after vaping and will provide an update on its tobacco and vaping-cessation webpage every Wednesday by noon.