To date, nine possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), with two cases confirmed and the remaining seven under investigation. These are amongst the 450 possible cases in 33 of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The illness has no evidence of infectious diseases identified, therefore, lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure. Patients report e-cigarette use and similar symptoms including:
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain;
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
- Fatigue, fever, or weight loss; or,
- Elevated heart rate
“Health officials around the nation are working hard to identify the cause of this outbreak, to prevent additional illnesses and protect health,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. “Missourians are encouraged to follow the CDC guidance to refrain from using e-cigarette products if you are concerned about these specific health risks, especially while the investigation is ongoing.”
If you do use e-cigarette products, you should not buy these products off the street (for example, e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids). You should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to those products that are not intended by the manufacturer. If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, you can call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
If you use e-cigarette products and you experience the symptoms above, seek medical care promptly. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, youth, young adults and women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products. Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products.
Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. If you need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, contact your doctor or other medical provider or call the Missouri Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). For information on the text-based e-cigarette quit program from Truth Initiative, visit truthinitiative.org/quitecigarettes or text “DITCHJUUL” to 88709.
For more information, please visit the DHSS website.
Edited news release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services