Davisson: Vaping deaths, illnesses still unsolved

Posted by: Randy Spieth  | Friday, October 18, 2019

Already this month, two Hoosiers have died from severe lung injuries linked to vaping usage. Sadly, three people in Indiana have died overall since early September from something some people consider an alternative and healthier option to smoking. While health officials believe these deaths, and many cases of illnesses, are all related to vaping, researchers are still unsure what exactly is causing this to happen. Folks who use e-cigarettes or vaping products because they are viewed as safer than traditional tobacco products should stop while tests are done to find the root of the deadly problem.

So far, more than 25 people have died nationally, and more than 1,300 have reportedly had vaping-related illnesses. Most of these cases are tied to vaping products with THC, an ingredient found in marijuana. In some cases, people who became sick said they only used vaping products with nicotine. Symptoms have included coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain, with other people experiencing nausea or vomiting, and others have had fatigue, fevers and abdominal pain.

This news is worrisome. The Indiana State Department of Health suggests Hoosiers stop using these products immediately, and anyone who has used them in the last three months and experienced these symptoms to visit their doctor. Health officials are already investigating 75 cases of severe lung injury linked to vaping in Indiana, and many of these cases involve young people between the ages of 16 and 29.

Many Hoosiers rely on vaping products to help them break this addictive smoking habit but now is not the time to use these as researchers look for answers. Instead, local doctors and pharmacists can recommend other tobacco-cessation products. This summer, thanks to a law I authored, pharmacists across Indiana can make prescription-strength products to kick the habit available to customers without a prescription.

The mysterious illnesses we are seeing can be prevented if Hoosiers put their vaping products away and rely on more proven options to stop their tobacco usage. Remember, vaping and e-cigarettes are not guaranteed to be a safer method of smoking compared to traditional cigarettes. To learn more about protecting Hoosiers from the dangers of vaping, visit vapefreeindiana.isdh.in.gov.



 
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State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) represents House District 73, which includes
Washington County, and portions of Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison counties. 
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.