3 Houston teens hospitalized after e-cigarette use in past month, officials say

HOUSTON – Three Houston teens have been hospitalized during the past month after using e-cigarettes, health officials announced Tuesday.

Dr. David Persse, of the Houston Health Department, said all three cases involve teenagers who have developed severe lung illnesses after using vape products.

Persse said the cases fit the profile of a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette products.

“Something has clearly changed,” Persse said, noting that most of the illnesses across the country have been reported within the past six weeks.

Persse said the illness is not an infection of the lungs, so antibiotics have no effect. He said the illness is best described as an injury to the lungs.

Patients reported shortness of breath while at rest, coughing or wheezing for no reason and fatigue at rest or with little exertion, Persse said.

Persse said the patients are on the mend, but they required medications to reduce inflammation of the lungs and ventilation until they could recover.

Privacy laws prevent officials from disclosing what type of vaping products the patients said they were using, Persse said.

Officials said a Tomball High School student was hospitalized Monday after becoming ill while using a vape pen, which is a form of e-cigarette. Persse said that based on the description of what the student experienced, he does not believe this illness is related to the outbreak across the country.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated the agency’s warning that people should discontinue use of vaping products until the cause of these illnesses can be determined. 

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