Earlier this week, Ventura County’s tenth case of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury, the new pulmonary disease associated with vaping, was accepted as meeting the case definition by the California Department of Public Health. The Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a national outbreak of EVALI and possible causes of this progressive and often severe respiratory disease. This disease is sometimes mistaken for pneumonia due to infection. These cases may be preceded or accompanied by fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. All of the cases failed to respond to an initial course of antibiotic treatment. Patients have been admitted to the hospital for respiratory support, including oxygen and in some cases intubation with mechanical ventilation. Many patients have improved with steroids although some have not regained completely normal lung function.
“I’m concerned that vaping, especially vaping products that contain nicotine, is a gateway to cigarette smoking, that it carries a risk of causing lung cancer and that there are unknown risks associated with all the different flavors and other uncontrolled substances in the vaped material,” said Dr. Robert Levin, Health Officer for Ventura County. “This association between vaping and EVALI makes quitting altogether the best choice.”