COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Franklin County Public Health is asking residents to immediately stop using all e-cigarette or vaping products.
“The number of cases continues to increase by the day and there is clearly risk to anyone using these products,” health officials said.
Franklin County Public Health issued the statement in a press release on Friday, a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 530 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products throughout the country with seven confirmed deaths.
Seventeen of those cases are in Ohio with three right here in Franklin County, according to Franklin County Public Health officials.
“No deaths have been reported to date in Ohio but all cases were severe enough to have been hospitalized,” officials said.
The age range of Ohio cases is 16 to 59 years of age with the median age of 20 years so it is important to note the majority of cases are occurring in teens and young adults.
All reported cases in the U.S. have a history of e-cigarette product use, or vaping.
Most, but not all, patients have reported using e-cigarettes containing THC. Many report using THC and nicotine. Some report using nicotine containing products only.
At this time, no product, substance, additive or brand has been identified as the cause, according to Franklin County Public Health.
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to investigate the growing outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping and are working diligently to pinpoint a common source or ingredient.
Health officials urge those who have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and you have symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever promptly seek medical attention.
Regardless of this outbreak, never buy e-cigarette or vaping products off the street, and do not modify or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer, health officials said.
If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
“The immediate health impact we are seeing is simply a reminder of the longer term effects vaping and cigarettes pose to our health,” said Joe Mazzola, Franklin County Health Commissioner. Smoking and tobacco are oftentimes a contributing factor to our leading causes of death in Franklin County including cancer, heart disease and stroke.
“Vaping is not a safer option than cigarettes as some manufacturers portray. No tobacco or nicotine use is safe,” said Mazzola. “This is an urgent reminder for us to encourage all residents to seek out available cessation resources.”
Residents who need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping, should contact their doctor or go online for information about the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for adults and My Life My Quit (1-855-891-9989) for teens.