Health department confirms first case of vaping-associated lung injury in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The first case of a serious lung injury associated with e-cigarette and vaping use has been announced by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

On Thursday, the health department confirmed the injury, saying the patient is a Tulsa County resident under the age of 18.

Health officials started investigating earlier this month when they asked health care providers to report any cases of severe pulmonary disease of unknown origin and a history of recent e-cigarette use.

Officials are still reviewing medical records, gathering data and conduct patient interviews.

“We are committed to working with our state and federal partners to learn everything we can about this investigation in order to prevent further injury and potential death,” said Commissioner of Health Gary Cox. “E-cigarettes are unregulated, and of great concern is the significant number of young people using the products. The public is advised to consider refraining from using all e-cigarette and vaping products while the investigation is ongoing.”

According to the health department, officials strongly advise against buying e-cigarette and vaping products off the street and modifying products or adding substances not intended by the manufacturer.

E-cigarettes or vaping products are not recommended for use by youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products. There is no safe amount of nicotine exposure, and there is no e-cigarette product or vape device recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a cessation device.

Patients involved in the nationwide investigation have reported symptoms such as prolonged cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fever and abdominal pain. Those who have a history of e-cigarette use or vaping in the last 90 days, and are experiencing any of these symptoms should contact a health care provider as soon as possible.

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