DENVER (CBS4) – A second case of a vaping-related illness has been confirmed in Colorado. U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and state health officials held a news conference Thursday morning about the state's ongoing investigation into a recent surge of vaping-related illnesses.
Dr. Tony Cappello, from the Colorado Department of Health, said both cases in our state involve young adults and both were in the metro area.
Cappello said over 200 suspected cases have been reported in 22 states – many involving teens and young adults. Some patients have likened onset of the illness to a heart attack, and others to the flu. Symptoms have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, vomiting, cough, and possible fever. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the body apparently reacting to a caustic substance that someone breathed in.
Colorado's first case was confirmed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment last week.
Colorado has the nation's highest rate of teen vaping. A recent CDC survey showed that over 25 percent of Colorado teens use e-cigarettes -- double the national average.
Illinois reported the first death in the nation linked to vaping.
"While the exact cause of the vaping-related illnesses is still unknown, doctors who have treated patients with the illness believe it could be linked to the liquid that's used in all e-cigarettes, known as vape juice," Degette's office said in a statement. "All e-cigarettes contain a heating element that produces an aerosol from a liquid that users inhale. The type of liquid, and the companies that produce them, vary widely and doctors suspect that something recently added to the liquid being inhaled – whether it was added for flavoring or some other reason – could be the cause of the recent surge in cases across the country."
"If approved, legislation DeGette introduced earlier this year would ban the sale of flavored nicotine products in the U.S., unless the companies that manufacture them can prove they are safe. A separate bill she introduced this year would raise the minimum age required to buy such products from 18 to 21," Degette's office stated.
National Jewish Health operates the Colorado Quitline. If you are interested in getting help quitting, visit coquitline.org.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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